Quotes for
the Journey:

Identity

   
  
Who are we but the stories we tell
ourselves, about ourselves, and believe?

Scott Turow
Ordinary Heroes

   

Define yourself radically as one beloved by God.  This is the true self.  Every other identity is illusion.     -Brennan Manning, Abba's Child

   
Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody. . . I am no good. . .  I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned." Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved."  Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.     -Henri J.M. Nouwen
   
Many of us are so deeply identified with our ideas that when we have a competitive encounter, we risk losing more than the debate:  we risk losing our sense of self.     -Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach
    
My wish simply is to live my life as fully as I can.  In both our work and our leisure, I think, we should be so employed.  And in our time this means that we must save ourselves from the products that we are asked to buy in order, ultimately, to replace ourselves.     -Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace
  
Be not another, if you can be yourself.     -Paracelsus

    
Most of us are not raised to actively encounter our destiny.  We may not know that we have one.  As children, we are seldom told we have a place in life that is uniquely ours alone.  Instead, we are encouraged to believe that our life should somehow fulfill the expectations of others, that we will (or should) find our satisfactions as they have found theirs.  Rather than being taught to ask ourselves who we are, we are schooled to ask others.  We are, in effect, trained to listen to others' versions of ourselves.  We are brought up in our life as told to us by someone else!  When we survey our lives, seeking to fulfill our creativity, we often see we had a dream that went glimmering because we believed, and those around us believed, that the dream was beyond our reach.  Many of us would have been, or at least might have been, done, tried something, if. . . If we had known who we really were.     -Julia Cameron
  
Not only is there often a right and wrong, but what goes around does come around, Karma exists, chickens do come home to roost, and as my mother, Phyllis, liked to say, “There is always a day of reckoning.”  The good among the great understand that every choice we make adds to the strength or weakness of our spirits—ourselves, or to use an old fashioned word for the same idea, our souls. That is every human’s life work: to construct an identity bit by bit, to walk a path step by step, to live a life that is worthy of something higher, lighter, more fulfilling, and maybe even everlasting.     -Donald Van de Mark, The Good Among the Great
   
First of all, although people have a common destiny, each individual also has to work out his or her own personal salvation for oneself in fear and trembling.  We can help one another to find the meaning of life, no doubt.  But in the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his or her own life and for "finding him- or herself."  If we persist in shifting our responsibility to somebody else, we fail to find out the meaning of our own existence.  You cannot tell me who I am and I cannot tell you who you are.  If you do not know your own identity, who is going to identify you?     -Thomas Merton
  
Sometimes we fight who we are, struggling against ourselves and our natures.  But we must learn to accept who we are and appreciate who we become.  We must love ourselves for what and who we are, and believe in our talents.     -Harley King
  
She might be without country, without nation, but inside her there was still a being that could exist and be free, that could simply say I am without adding a this, or a that, without saying I am Indian, Guyanese, English, or anything else in the world.     -Sharon Maas, Of Marriageable Age
  
I feel with some passion that what we truly are is private, and almost infinitely complex, and ambiguous, and both external and internal, and double- or triple- or multiply natured, and largely mysterious even to ourselves; and furthermore that what we are is only part of us, because identity, unlike "identity," must include what we do.  And I think that to find oneself and every aspect of this complexity reduced in the public mind to one property that apparently subsumes all the rest ("gay," "black, "Muslim," whatever) is to be the victim of a piece of extraordinary intellectual vulgarity.     -Philip Pullman
  
It is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself. The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have never faced it before.  It is frightening when a woman finally realizes that there is no answer to the question "who am I" except the voice inside herself.     -Betty Friedan
  
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.     -Oscar Wilde
  
We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are.  Sane or insane.  Saints or sex addicts.  Heroes or victims.  Letting history tell us how good or bad we are.  Letting our past decide our future.  Or we can decide for ourselves.  And maybe it's our job to invent something better.     -Chuck Palahniuk, Choke
   
I am a person before I am anything else. I never say I am a writer I never say I am an artist. . . I am a person who does those things.     -Edward Gorey
  
Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim.  Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself.     -Harvey Fierstein
   
  
If you try to view yourself through the lenses that others offer you, all you will see are distortions; your own light and beauty will become blurred, awkward, and ugly. Your sense of inner beauty has to remain a very private thing.     -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara
  
You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity. At some time, every creature which lives must do so. It is the ultimate shadow, the defeat of creation; this is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life. Everywhere in the universe.     -Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  
He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.     -Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
  
But by identities and integrity I do not mean only our noble features, or the good deeds we do, or the brave faces we wear to conceal our confusions and complexities.  Identity and integrity have as much to do with our shadows and limits, or wounds and fears, as with our strengths and potentials.     -Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach
  
I belong to the people I love, and they belong to me--they, and the love and loyalty I give them, form my identity far more than any word or group ever could.     -Veronica Roth, Allegiant
  

  

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