Who am I?
What is my purpose in life?
What should I do with my life?
What is the meaning of life?
I did a little research and found that the phrase “who am I” has been googled (is that a word?) more than 100 million times in the last month; 20 million of those were in the United States. To give you a point of reference, there are a little more than 300 million people living in the United States.
This information has made me horribly sad. First, it perplexes me that there is so much confusion regarding this question. Second, it is sad to me that people are asking the internet for such important information. The internet!! Think about it. Have we really become so unattached to each other that we have to use a computer to find out who we are? Have we isolated ourselves to the point that we don’t reach out to each other when we are confused about our very identity?
I’ve spent some time thinking about this subject. And, I’ve come to some conclusions about it. While it is certainly sad that people reach out to the internet instead of their friends/mentors to answer this, I believe the fact that they do this goes a long way to answer their original question. Let me explain.
Knowing who we are as individuals is important. But, I don’t believe the question can be answered in the vacuum that it seems to be asked in. While we are certainly all individuals, we aren’t designed to live that way. We are designed to live our lives in communities with other people. That is where we will find fulfillment in ourselves. That fulfillment will ultimately answer the question, “Who am I?” We find the answer to that question in how we live and interact with other people.
Think about the self-serving people you know. Are they fulfilled? Are they happy? Absolutely not. Think about the times when you went out of your way to help someone. What did that do inside you? You felt good about yourself. Right? In that moment, you weren’t wondering what your purpose was. You fulfilled your purpose, thus eliminating the question from your mind.
The fact that we are asking a computer these types of questions only illuminates the fact that the question remains unanswered. And THAT is sad to me. People living without real relationships with other people makes my heart hurt.
I understand why people do this. They have obviously been hurt by other people. We all hurt each other at different times in life. Does that make us all bad? No. It makes us all imperfect. But, building walls only isolates us from having the real relationships that we need to feel fulfilled.
We all have different personalities, character traits, strengths, skill sets and life experiences. When we use these things to help those who are around us, we find our purpose. When we hoard all of those things and only use them for ourselves, we rob others of the benefits and cheat ourselves too. By offering ourselves to others, we will find that they return the favor. And, if we all lived our lives this way, there wouldn’t be over 100 million people asking a search engine who they are. The question just wouldn’t exist.