Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.

Who We Really Are

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Sep 22, 2012 1:44 PM

Still tired for jet lag, my husband and I drove almost 2 hrs. to join an informal class reunion/yearly get-together from my high school last night.(We're all baby boomers.)

It got me thinking today about self-identity. Who are we, really? Most people will define themselves by their relationships as family members, by their work and accomplishments, and by hobbies/avocations. However, am I the same person when the family connections have changed, e.g., by divorce or death, or regardless of profession, like if I'd gone into another field? One of my classmates commented that it's nice that we all remember each other as we really were, no pretenses, what we came from and how we developed at a crucial age.

I think there's a basic identity we obtain sometime in childhood and it sticks. It undergirds whatever else becomes of us and all the values, trauma and wisdom we accumulate from life. Maybe the only people who can truly know us are the ones who knew us when....More importantly, we should remember who we are, not just the roles we play. I think "only child in need of friends, from interesting but odd immigrant family, wanting to fit in," still defines me at least as well as "well-educated professional, remarried mother of middle-aged son." There's something wholesome about re-connecting with people who remind you of who you are and where you come from. We should do it more often.

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