Who Am I?

The only nice thing about being imperfect is the joy it brings to others.

  Doug Larson

Who do you think you are?

The Houston Post carried an article about a man the Dutch police arrested in the town of Rosendaal. They found him in possession of 186 false papers, including 29 Nigerian passports, 30 British passports, 74 Dutch work permits, 12 British driving licenses, 18 birth or death certificates, 2 British student cards, an international driving license and 20 forged checks. They said that the man had not yet been conclusively identified!

A humorist said, "I go to this doctor and pay him 75 dollars an hour, and all he does is ask me the same question my father used to ask me all the time: 'Who do you think you are, anyway?'" Not a bad question, actually.

I think I spent the first 20 or 30 years of my life wondering who I really was. I thought I'd never know what to study in school and I was sure I'd never figure out what kind of person I might be happy spending my life with. Then, just when I thought I knew myself fairly well, I changed! And through the years I changed again. And again! It seems like I've always been up against the question, "Who do you think you are?"

I appreciate Benjamin Kubelski's story. In 1902, his father gave him a violin for his eighth birthday. It cost $50, a small fortune in those days, and especially for a recently immigrated Russian family.

Benjamin did well and was playing concerts as a teenager. At age 18 he teamed up with a woman pianist as a musical team in Vaudeville.

But he suspected the violin did not satisfy his heart's desire. Then one night, Benjamin impulsively decided to tell the audience about a funny incident that had happened during the day. He later said, "The audience laughed and the sound intoxicated me. That laughter ended my days as a musician." And it began his life career as the comedian Jack Benny.

He found who he was and everything fit into place. He knew that if he followed his heart's desire, he would end up all right.

You and I may never know ourselves conclusively. But listen to your heart. Listen for that still, small voice within and make up your mind to follow. I don't know where you will end up, but it will be all right.

~Steve Goodier

About the Author

   Steve Goodier and his best friend and wife Bev, this week's contributing author

Steve Goodier holds a B.A. in anthropology and sociology and an M.Div. degree from Emory University. He is the author of numerous books about personal development, motivation, inspiration, and making needed life changes. Steve Goodier created the Living Right Side Up daily life management system. He is a personal development coach. He has taught and counseled people through life changes and spiritual development for two decades. Together with his wife (and best friend) Bev, a professional counselor and small group leader, he has led numerous workshops on relational, spiritual and inter-personal growth topics. Steve and Bev now work together in their mountain home in Colorado, running their business Life Support System Publishing.

Any fool can try to defend his mistakes - and most fools do - but it gives one a feeling of nobility to admit one's mistakes. By fighting, you never get enough, but by yielding, you get more than you expected.

  Lawrence G. Lovasik (The Hidden Power of Kindness)

Hey, I remember you...!

Some of my articles take some serious research. Some more than others. This one won't. It is more like a self-cleansing than anything else, because it comes from the heart.

I hope those individuals I am discussing here are not offended, even though they are not mentioned by name. Most often, it is a topic that is central in my mind when I write. This time, it is about people. People in my life that either have meant something to me at one time, or those that still do. People I love, because I don't know how to feel otherwise about them.

I used to be someone else. We all did. We grow, we change, we become. If we're not doing that this very moment, it does not mean that it has not taken place before, or it will again in the future. There may be a reason we are not changing and growing right now. But, like everything else in life, that will change, too. Try and stop changes in your own life, and you will realize what I am talking about.

Most everyone has been to a class reunion, or a family reunion, or some place where there is contact with someone not seen for some time. You might hear comments like, "My, how you have grown!" or "You've held up well!" or something of the sort. Or, you may hear comments like, "Guess who's right over there?" or "I bet he hasn't changed a bit - still the lying scoundrel he always was." Physical changes, those that are visible are easy to represent or to recognize. Internal changes are not.

Perhaps there was, at the family reunion, the rotten creepy uncle that always drank too much and made an ass of himself. You know, the one you used to avoid as much as possible. And, here he is again. What is the first thing you think? "Here we go again." And he may prove you right. . . or he may not.

Even if it was not about drinking, and it wasn't an uncle, and it wasn't a family reunion, there are people that knew us when, that remember me or you as we were. Maybe they didn't like certain things about us, then. I don't blame them, in my case, because I didn't like myself very much then, either. But I have changed. They have changed. Everybody changes.

I know it is easier to dislike or hold ill feelings toward someone that has wronged another. I am guilty of this, myself. This is especially true if the relationship was a destructive one. It is a lot easier to do that, to perceive them as they used to be, instead of believing that they have changed, that they are different. It is easier to shun than it is to understand that perhaps they have healed the part of their life that was damaged, and they have moved on. It is easier to hate than to know that they would prefer that you forgive them, and move on with them, too. Been there.

Understand this, about the person you knew: it wasn't a matter of starting over. They progressed through and beyond their perfectly planned series of lessons, and now they may find themselves in your life, again. They are not the same as you remember them to be. Whether your contact with them is to be brief or prolonged, they will be in your life long enough for you to learn this lesson, so pay attention: Things are different. You are different, they are different. Nothing is the same now as it was then.

Who am I? I am not so much the person you remember from yesterday or perhaps years ago, as I am the person that those experiences have made me, today.

I am the one who did the best I could at the time, and now I do better because I know better. This is the new and improved me, because I learned and became responsible for that knowledge; I grew, based upon that responsibility; and, as a result of being responsible for what I knew, I changed. I am ready for new places and people, new experiences and new lessons, too. And if I haven't learned all the lessons that I was supposed to learn with someone, I will learn them with someone else. Even if old friends or family members choose not to participate, I will move on. I must.

You can help in this process, you can be my partner in the lessons of love an growth, or you can continue in your delusion that I have not changed, that I continue to be the person you knew and despised, whatever your reasons. I will grow and become, with or without you.

I am me. That is who I am, today, right now. But, believe me, because our paths have crossed, I will never be the same again. And I am grateful for that, even if it was painful for both of us.

Besides, you are not just as I remember you, either!

The Author
Peace and Light, Michael

email: Michael@N-Spire.com - or, send your Let me know what you think of this article to me right now!

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