Who are you? Can you provide a clear answer to this question? Let us simplify this. How do you perceive yourself? Perhaps in the way others perceive you? Or the way you wish to be perceived? Or maybe based on your own self-image? You can embody all of these or none of them. The labels others attach to you may not necessarily define you. Your desired image may not align with your self-perception, which is why you would like to be seen as such. For instance, someone struggling with insecurity strives to appear confident, even though they feel precisely that they are not. As for how you perceive yourself, your ego plays a significant role, which, in turn, can potentially distort reality.

Our personality isn’t an exact checklist of who we are. We have characteristic ways of functioning, our most common modes of operation, but we can be quite different depending on the situation. You can bring out the ‘animal’ in anyone; all it takes is a trigger. Similarly, even someone considered ‘evil’ can be kind in the right circumstances. This is why the environment we live in and the people we surround ourselves with matter significantly. We bear responsibility for who we allow to influence us. If someone carries negative thought patterns that guide their thinking, they tend to associate with similar individuals. The problem here is that when two or more negative people come together, they will catalyse much more potent negative energies than if they were on their own, because they amplify each other’s negativity. This sets off a downward spiral, and each participant willingly joins in, drawn by shared mindsets, descending deeper without noticing. The same happens with positive-minded people; they enter an upward spiral when connecting with like-minded peers, which lifts them higher.

Despite the fact that depending on the situation, we can essentially become almost anything, there’s still a self-image we hold of ourselves, even if it has little connection to our psychological personality, and even if it somewhat aligns with it. How we perceive ourselves is shaped by our beliefs. If I believe that I used to be arrogant with people, but have undergone significant changes and am now kind, then I view myself as kind today, even if I’m still a long way from genuine and sincere kindness. Or if I think of myself as smart, I see myself as smart even when I utter nonsense. The opposite holds true as well. If I believe I’m not smart, despite others frequently seeking my opinion, then I still won’t consider myself smart.

If you have believe in a church, a political party’s propaganda, climate change, a healthy lifestyle, or the fight against pollution, it operates in a similar manner. We associate ourselves with our beliefs, like saying “I am a Christian,” “I am a Democrat,” “I am a vegetarian,” or “I am an environmentalist.” However, this is a broad generalisation. For instance, just because someone identifies as a Christian doesn’t necessarily mean they consistently follow Jesus’s teachings. Similarly, those who work diligently to conserve and protect the planet may unwittingly engage in actions harmful to it. Nonetheless, they hold firm beliefs and often express them in extreme ways, proclaiming to be an environmentalist.

What do you believe about yourself? Who are you according to your beliefs? Are you really who you see yourself to be through your beliefs?

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