Who Are You?

Who are you? A simple question at first - but when we consider it further, it’s a more difficult question than you might think. Often, you’ll start describing yourself with either of two extremes: your successes or your failures.

We should strive to set goals for ourselves and to accomplish them, that is very good to do. If you aren’t already, imagine that you are a student in college. Perhaps receiving a doctorate in your intended field is by far your biggest goal. When you finally reach it, you’ll feel great about yourself. But you are not the doctorate you have received.

Maybe you are a student having financial problems. That can cause you to stress, you lose focus and your grades begin to go down. The next thing you know, you’ve failed a core course. Because of your grades, you are unable to receive the financial help you once had, and now you can’t continue school, so you are unable to graduate. But you are not your failed course, or your inability to graduate.

We are very susceptible to become attached to strong emotions, like self-importance or unworthiness. If you’re the student who received the doctorate, it is okay to feel good about yourself, but you must be careful not to become arrogant toward those who don’t have the title that you do. On the other hand, if you’re the student who is unable to graduate, you may become too shameful about yourself and give up trying.

Neither the sum of our success nor the sum of our weakness is who we are. Our success is the accomplishments that we’ve achieved by working diligently toward a certain goodness. Our failures may come so that we may be able to learn valuable lessons and re-focus on our goals.

These things, our successes and failures are part of our life, and both help to shape the person that we are meant to be, but they alone are not really who we are. We cannot get stuck in the moments of success or failures or in the emotions that we feel after such events. We must use them to gain knowledge, to keep going and to grow spiritually. I invite you to read the following words of Pope Saint John Paul II:

"It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal."

Think of what you want to do with your life, what is it that you most long for? How are you currently living your life? How do you treat other people, whether you know them or not? Do you care for nature? What are the things and the people that inspire you? Do they leave you feeling happy? Take a moment to reflect on these questions, they’ll help you know who you really are. Be honest with yourself, and do not get discouraged if the answers you find are not what you thought. You are not alone; allow God to guide you in the path He has made for you, and you’ll become an instrument of His peace!


Cristina Aguilar