While there are any number of answers which you might think of to answer this question, there is in fact, only one. No matter who you are, what you do, where you live, or how you look…you are whoever you think you are. If you’re anything like me, you have had people ask you who you thought you were on more than one occasion.
One thing which is common when it comes to this question, is that no matter how old you are when someone asks it of you, it usually doesn’t feel very good. When people ask this question, it isn’t usually meant in a kind way. They are usually asking it to imply that they feel that the person that they’re asking it of is inferior, not good enough, impractical, or some other derogatory thing. While many of us have been asked to this sort of question, there are those who are subjected to it more than others.
The adults who are asked this question the most are women, people with illnesses, the disabled, and creative people. Those who fire off this question do so for several reasons. They ask it in an attempt to “put someone in their place”, to point out to someone that they aren’t measuring up in some way (in their opinion), to diminish self esteem, to manipulate, or to be critical of another person’s choices. Whether the question is asked directly or implied by making a statement, it has the potential to be damaging.
The most recent incident of something along this vein in my own life wasn’t all that long ago. As most of you know, there are a few things about me which make me a potential target for this type of behavior…I am a woman, I am creative, and I have chronic illnesses. Not too long ago, someone made the statement to me that thinking that writing was going to be a way for me to become more financially stable was impractical. Not only that, but that the odds were stacked against my being successful enough at it to make a difference in my life because so many people want to do it. The person went on to say that it was a nice thing to do in order to give me something to do so that I didn’t get bored.
I’ve also been asked who I thought I was to think that I was qualified to provide intuitive services for others…and wasn’t I worried that others would think that I was weird? In the past someone making statements of this nature and asking me that sort of question bothered me tremendously and made me feel diminished. There were times when I felt so defeated that I quit doing the things that mattered to me because I bought into the implied answer to what this question almost always is. “Who do you think you are?” No one. Not good enough. Foolish. That’s what the desired impact most often is.
If you have had this happen, please don’t be hard on yourself and do not be discouraged. It doesn’t matter who anyone else thinks that we are. What does matter is who we think we are. Even though this is irrelevant, I wish to talk about it anyway…in order to shine a light on it. When a person feels the need to go after someone in this way, it is a reflection on them…a reflection of their own fears and insecurities…or a reflection of work that they need to do on themselves. Think about it…what type of person has a need to do try to tear someone else down?
It isn’t someone who is good with themselves. It isn’t someone with a loving and compassionate heart. It isn’t someone who is fully happy with their own life. Under the circumstances of being good with yourself, having a loving heart, and happiness with your own life…there is no room or proclivity to tear down another. Period. As I said, this doesn’t really matter at the end of the day, because it isn’t your responsibility to understand why someone is the way that they are. And, it certainly isn’t your responsibility to put up with it. The important thing is how you feel about yourself, not as a result of what anyone else says or does…what you and you alone think.
Your gender, your spirituality, your state of health, your ability to work at a ‘normal’ job, your choice of career…none of this makes you inferior or superior. What matters is who you are at your core. All of the other stuff is just stuff, and no one has a right to question or judge any of it. You do not owe anyone an explanation. It is so important to find your own unique brand of happiness, and not measure yourself against anyone else. Follow your passions to the best of your ability and know that it is good enough.
I didn’t go into when children, people who are not of a straight sexual orientation, or racial minorities are asked this type of question in this post, because those issues simply cannot be lumped in with what I’ve discussed here today. While I cannot do all of this justice in this post…I will openly and gladly state that I do not find it acceptable that racial minorities, those of other than straight sexual orientations, and kids are asked this question either. If anyone finds themselves thinking about asking it…the reality is that some self examination would serve them much better.
So…who do you think you are? The only answer and opinion that matters, and that you need to take or not take action on, is your own.