If you have BPD chances are you wrestle with this question a lot. Figuring out who you are can be a major hurdle for many people whether they have BPD or not. But for those of us with BPD, this is something that literally quite often stops us right in our tracks. I say all this while knowing full well that a true BPD recovery depends on knowing who you are. In my opinion, people who do not have a good handle on who they are become people pleasers and drift along aimlessly through life. When I used to think about who I was and try to figure it out I always used to get tripped up by this, would get lost in a circle of existential thinking about such things as “What is my purpose in life?” “Where am I going?” and “What is the role of God in this mess?”
Because humans are highly social creatures, we tend to care an awful lot about the people around us and what they think about us. Many of us allow these thoughts to completely dictate our actions and feelings. Figuring out who we are is difficult at best.We don’t want to offend anyone or cause them to not like us so it is easier to live in the shadows and not assert ourselves.
Why is it so difficult to see the bigger picture?
The human brain is programmed to see things in certain ways so as to make sense of the world in which we live. This is why people have both physical and emotional blind spots. If you are seeing something and you’re looking at your blind spot, your brain is programmed to fill in the blanks and put order into that blank space. This happens outside our field of cognition. It happens automatically without us even being aware it is going on. In the same way, the human brain is programmed to perceive patterns even where they do not exist. This causes people to infer certain meanings with regard to completely random events. So, we see patterns in such things as sports statistics even though a football player’s ability to kick a field goal though based on skill is not based in probability. What does this mean? It means, for the in general, most people are incapable seeing the truths about themselves without bias and without making things up about themselves. This kind of thinking is evident when you think about the way people are influenced to purchase certain products over another.Most people are totally ill-prepared to make rational judgements and choose their best behaviour.
When people engage in the activity of trying to figure themselves out, they experience something called the “measurement effect”. In one study, subjects who were asked whether or not they were likely to donate blood in the coming year turned out to be much likelier to donate blood than people who were not asked the same question. This leads one to suspect that the mere suggestion is enough to influence future behaviour. Researchers concluded that people who are embarking on a journey of self-discovery were more likely to experience feelings based on the kinds of questions they asked themselves: Am I a generous person? they might be more apt to donate more money to charity during the course of a year after asking themselves that kind of self-reaching question.
Ergo, just the act of trying to discover who you are will lead you to a deeper understanding of just who you are.
YOUR OWN SELFNESS MAY BE TOO COMPLEX FOR YOUR MIND TO PERCEIVE
Is it possible that humans, like reality, are too complicated to be truly understood by simple human brains? It is simple to make certain declarations about oneself such as “I know I like to eat Tex-Mex food” or “I am afraid of spiders.” But when it comes to the deeper, more fundamental questions about who we are, that’s when things get really dicey and complicated.
SOME TIPS ON HOW TO FINALLY START TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION
For me, it started with me taking an inventory of some very basic things: I am a Japanese-Canadian woman. Answer number one. I am Jewish. Answer number two. I believe in x, y and z: answers number three, four and five. I have x number of children. I was born in this place. I love to x and y. Eventually, the picture of who I was began to take shape. The harder answers were much more difficult to come by, though. Why am I here?
It took me a long time to be able to figure that one out. The answer was that I am here because this is where I am. Why am I here, really though? I guess that for me a person’s purpose in life is what they choose to make it. I don’t believe that any one individual has been imbued with any great cosmic purpose. We all exist in order to bring happiness and joy to others through the sharing of experiences and the sharing of laughter.
AND THE ANSWER TO MY $64,000 BPD QUESTION IS….
I am a 55 year old Jewish Japanese-Canadian woman who was born in Toronto. I love to ski and throw pots on a pottery wheel. I have three children. I believe in everyone’s right to choose their own destiny and shape it as they see fit. I am against capital punishment. I am a vegetarian because I believe killing animals is cruel and unnecessary in order to survive. I believe in global warming and actively work to reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible given the confines of my life circumstances. I am apolitical and do not support any political party but believe very strongly in democracy. I enjoy reading and am committed to expanding my education through books. I dislike drinking beer and do not like to go to bars. I prefer to think as creatively as possible and strive to find solutions whenever possible. I am a master communicator and believe that every problem can be solved with dialogue. I have created a life space for myself that is chaos free and as stress-free as possible and I relish it and am grateful for it every single day.