We sometimes hear someone make the comment: I am who I am, or I am what I am, or it is just the way I am. This often occurs after the person has received criticism for some statement or action. I am not referring to LGBT. This post is dealing with something else. The subject here is any individual who may occasionally justify certain characteristics or behavior with one of the three responses about his or her identity that is not related to sexual preference.
This begs the question: Who am I? People have investigated this question for thousands of years, and religions believe they have the answer. Some scientists too have concluded that they have the answer, which is often dramatically different from any answer religions provide. So when people give one of the above three responses, or something similar, to criticism, what do they really mean? Do they mean that their behavior is hard coded into their personality to such a degree that they cannot be or do otherwise? They came out of the womb that way and there is nothing they can do to change, nor should they try.
Parents often face this dilemma in raising children. During the teenage years, the child is frequently heard saying, you won’t accept me the way I am. You want me to be someone else. And in many circumstances, this is a valid response, especially if the parent is trying to decide the child’s future and life’s career. However, many times it is not an appropriate response. A child who does not want to take personal responsibility for his or her actions may also respond this way. And here we have the crux of the matter. When is a criticism valid and when is it misplaced? Sometimes we may be affected by a criticism and think we should change, even when the criticism is not justified.
My answer to this is that we need to know ourselves. We need to know who and what we are. Through dreams, we can discover our identity and soul’s purpose. Then we are not affected by others’ criticism if is counter to our purpose and knowledge of ourselves. One of the worse reasons I can think of for doing something is because everyone is doing it. Sometimes the herd is following a leader off a cliff. We need to be so certain in our own self-awareness that even the influences of all our family and friends will not send us in the wrong direction.
The other side to this is our recognition that we are the wrong path or have behavior that is unacceptable and needs to change. Someone in this position who gives one of the three, or similar, responses I listed to criticism is saying I don’t want or intend to change. This person’s attitude is that this is the way I am and you are going to have to accept me this way. Of course, for someone behaving badly, this attitude is not based on any deep introspection, but rather it is based on the person’s laziness and lack of concern about his or her behavior and any negative impact on others and his or her own life. The response is a selfish one and indicates a complete lack of self-awareness.
Our dreams make it difficult for us to ignore our own selfishness and lack of regard for others. If we are sincerely seeking help and working with guidance from our dreams, we will see all aspects of ourselves. Our beauty and creativity will be evident, but so will our blemishes and pettiness. So the next time you are tempted to say this is just the way I am, ask yourself if you really know this to be true. Or are you just avoiding dealing with some aspect of yourself that you would like to ignore, but need to correct. Of course, our failings are usually quite evident to others, even if we ignore them.
Our dreams show us our potential, what we can become to family and friends in our lives, but they also show us our deficiencies. I believe that one of the reasons few people work daily with their dreams is their unwillingness to look at their deficiencies. They don’t want to see them; they don’t want to change.
Bad behavior that can affect one’s health is an example of this. If a person is doing something that is detrimental to his or her physical health, the effects will be revealed in dreams. The person can refuse to look at it and ignore any future dreams, but the effects will still occur. We live in a world of cause and effect. If you want to change the effect, you have to change the cause. Those who laugh it off and treat the warning as trivial are destined to reap the consequences.
During my life, I have known several people who lived hard, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, engaging in late night partying, and getting inadequate amounts of sleep and exercise. They laughed at any suggestion they should slow down and bring balance into their lives. A common response was I am going to enjoy life and not worry about it. When my time comes, it comes. (One person I knew died shortly after turning thirty.)
If that is really their choice and they have a full understanding of what that entails, then they have make their decision and must live with the consequences. However, years later, I heard many (those that still survived) of these same people say they wished they had made better choices when they were younger. It is amazing how a diseased, suffering body and the approach of the end of their lives changed their perspective. I think few people who abuse the body when young really understand what they are doing, and they don’t actually want to face the consequences.
Serious work with our dreams changes our perspective; it changes us. We grow in our understanding of our own lives and the creation of those lives through our thoughts and actions. New potentials open up and we see our connection to everyone and everything around us. We begin to learn who we really are. We see the life we are building and the consequences of our actions.