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One of the main components of the self is in knowing where one part of you ends and another begins. Parts, you ask? Yes, parts.
 
The self has multiple parts. We all develop many facets as we grow, and, of course, our whole is always greater than the sum of our parts. We develop personas as we encounter situations, events, places, people, and experiences. Think of the avatar on your social media page that reflects your mood or the “game face” you put on before a meeting or a visit with family. These are your personas. The number and type vary from individual to individual, but the fundamentals are the same. We temporarily “put on” these aspects of ourselves as the situation requires.

 

 
How do we know which one of our personas is the true self? What if we carried a bit of all of them in ourselves? What if we just shed these personas at the first opportunity? Only one question matters in the end: do you really know who you are?

 

 
We go through life personifying who we are and who we want to be. Sometimes the two run together; sometimes they each go their own way. Our personas are interchangeable and can be manageable, but how do we keep our sanity while performing all these seemingly schizophrenic changes? This is where most people, myself included, inevitably get into trouble.

 

 
It is important to reflect not only on questions about your present but also on questions about your future. This will always give you a starting point. Always knowing that there is room for change, and that the present is never absolute, will become a subconscious motivator.

 

 
The key to understanding this phenomenon is to tackle it head on. The main questions are “Who am I?” and “Who do I want to be?”

 

 
“Who am I?” seems almost obvious and overly simplistic, but it is not. The question triggers myriad trains of thought. Who am I at heart? What are my desires? What drives me? All these questions arise from what seems like a relatively simple inquiry.
 

 

 
The next fundamental question is a whopper. Are you happy with who you are? Really happy? If the answer is just a question mark, as it was with me, the next questions you should ask yourself are these: “Why have I chosen the persona I have? When do I use it? Why? What part about the persona I choose do I feel is of benefit? Have I ever stopped to think of possible negative side effects? Even if they are acceptable side effects, have I really considered them?”

 

 
Only you can answer these questions. They are the questions that you do not allow others to ask or even insinuate.

 

 
The philosopher René Descartes penned my thoughts perfectly: “I am a thing that thinks, that is to say, a thing that doubts, affirms, denies, understands a few things, is ignorant of many things, wills, refrains from willing, and also imagines and senses.” Shakespeare’s phrase “to be or not to be” is not the question but is the answer.
 
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