Who are you? Can you describe yourself? Is that description the absolute measure of your personality so that you never leave outside of its confines? And does everyone with whom you have interacted describe you the same way? Your parents, siblings, friends, ex-boyfriend/girlfriend or the random stranger that you met when you were having a bad day…
It is likely that your parents thought you to be quiet and obedient but your teachers complained of your averseness towards everything, including discipline. Your ex-lover remembers you as cruel and unconcerned but your friends and siblings think of you as loyal to a fault.
So who are you? I don’t know if there is an answer to that question. Most of the time, what we call personality is just a collection of virtues that can be learnt through certain circumstances and unlearnt through others. A patient, loving woman can turn into an intolerant and relentless nag. The reverse is true.
And sometimes, we surprise ourselves by doing things and taking on characters that are far-removed from who we think we are. We get momentary lapses of wisdom. And then we exchange verbal or physical blows with strangers. We are cruel. We act selfish. We become apathetic to, or partake of injustice. We lie. We cheat.
We are likely to suffer life-long negative consequences from the decisions made in moments of irrationality. It takes a moment for an intelligent young girl with everything going for her to become the single mother who exchanges her virtue for bread. So who is she now?
And who is he? That warlord who has taken countless lives. We clench our fists and condemn him to hell or someplace worse. He is the scum of the earth after all, isn’t he? But then we read interviews conducted with his wife and children and they say that he is a doting father, and a loving husband. That he is gentle and kind.
What about a woman who hacked her husband to death for defiling their daughter, and then confessed but with no remorse? She is doing time for the crime but who is she?
She is just a person. As we all are. Mortals.Whether we are good or bad depends on who you ask. Each one of us is thrown into this world without consent or instruction. As soon as we can, and in a bid to survive and thrive, we start making decisions as we see fit, in the different seasons of life.
As the good book says, there is a season and a time for everything. A time for foolishness, a time for wisdom. A time to love, a time to hate. A time to weep, a time to laugh. A time to live, a time to die. We spend our lives reacting to these seasons as they come and go.
So in the end, who we are is not so much about our personalities, as it is about the way we react to the situations in our lives.