WHAT am I? This is a question that is asked not only of our selves but also to us by others. Throughout the day, especially in America, we are father, brother, worker, manager, husband, lover, enemy, provider. Each one of those roles requires not only specific tasks but also parameters and expectations that often overlap or conflict. It is truly amazing that in the modern world that the average human can get through the day without going just a bit crazy. In retrospect, maybe that is what occurs in the modern world, people going just a bit crazy day by day.
When asked the next question, who am I? most people, myself included, will answer the same thing as What am I? We define ourselves by our goals and roles within our societal framework. None of this though defines WHO we are or what our nature is. Looking inside, knowing yourself before becoming those different roles is important, if for no reason other than to understand WHY you do something and HOW you are going to be able to accomplish it.
Stress is a major part of the modern life. Role conflict is one of the largest areas where this stress comes from. Being true to your nature and understanding that each of these roles is a task or job and not a shift in personality is a vital key in making sure that stress levels are reduced. This is a hard fought lesson for me and one that is not always present during the normal course of the day.
As an aside, this does not exclude people from cause and effect. Too many times this introspection leads to the excuse “Well, it is my nature to be an ass.” Well, if that is the case, so be it. The scorpion is, by its nature, a predator. However, the scorpion still drowned when it exerted its nature. We are not excused from the consequences of our actions, no matter how much they may fit our nature.