Thursday, October 13, 2011
"Without Your Relationships Who Are You?" (reframe!)
Recently I saw a commercial that ended with a very disturbing line: "without your stuff who are you?"
Wait a minute- what?
The point of the commercial was to convince us to buy their product (maybe an anti-virus software? I can't remember), but the commercial sends a frightening message: that we are our possessions.
I would have to disagree with this message. Yes, our collection of things like our photos, files, clothing and even furniture can in many ways be a reflection of how we perceive ourselves or how we would like to be perceived. But we are so much more than our things!
My blog is not who I am. My clothing is not who I am. These are reflections of my interests- but not who I am. Without these things/stuff I am still me. Things like clothing and blogs are not who we are.
If we really want to know who a person is, a more accurate question would be: without your relationships who are you?
Relationships are more accurate indicators of who we are. Our interactions with each other inform and influence our understanding of self--who we are. Our relationships, and all of the learning, connection, tears, laughter, security, and memories are who we are.
So. . . who am I? This is not an all-encompasing personal network analysis. . . but here are a few examples of the relationships that help constitute who I am (or at least my understanding of who I am):
A Christian: my relationship with God constitutes who I am. This relationship, and what I learn from being in this relationship, shapes how I view and understand the world and my place in the world. This frames my career, my actions, my thoughts, my understanding of self, and the way I treat other selves.
A daughter and a sister: my relationship with my parents and my brothers also shapes my understanding of self. They are the most honest with me about my strengths as well as my weaknesses, and they are the ones I turn to when I feel lost or overwhelmed (and God too, of course!)
A friend: Friends are also major influencers in my understanding of self. My interests, what I read, the music I listen to, even the words I use are influenced by my friends. But even more than these habits, my friends help me understand who I am. Isn't it interesting how a friend's description of you can impact the way that we see ourselves?
Just a few thoughts for a cloudy Thursday. . .
*also. . . here is that commercial. It isn't totally terrible until the last 5 seconds: