Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We Become What We Do

We think we are formed, that we have fully developed personalities, value systems, and ideologies. We think who we are is fairly fixed and stable, that once we have achieved a certain status, become a 'good person', that we are that for all time. We think that we do things because of who we are.
But I want to suggest that it is the other way around. We are who we are because of what we do.
Another way of saying that is if you do not put into practice your principles, you may as well not have them. If you think you are a kind person, but do not do kind things, you are not. If you think you are a creative person but do not do creative things, you are not. If you think you are a fair person, but do not involve yourself in causes that lead to justice and fairness in the world, you are not.
We are what we do, and what we do shapes us. If you think you are the kind of person who picks up litter, yet sometimes you walk past it, you gradually become less the sort of person who does that. You become the sort of person who is not bothered by walking past litter. If you pick up the litter, you become a person who does that more often and values that.
Sometimes, we feel powerless to change a thing, so we do not speak up or take action. But in letting the situation that we do not like continue without any attempt on our part to make change, we become the sort of person who accepts that bad situation.
If we think ourself an artist because we have a degree or used to paint, we might not be an artist anymore. If we worked on a painting or sketched up some ideas in a journal today, we worked at being creative and we are an artist.
If we think ourself a good friend, a good family member, yet we did not interact with any of the people that matter to us, we might be on the way to disconnecting. If we worked at a relationship today, we are becoming more connected to the people that matter to us.
We might think ourself to be an adventurer, but if we have not just returned from, are on an, or are in the planning phases of an adventurer, we might have lost being that.
Our actions and words either build up or tear down. Which kind of person do we want to be? We become that person by doing things that that kind of person does.
You are what you do. What have you done lately?
Who do you think you are?
What did you do today that spoke that? What did you do today that denied that?
What will you do tomorrow to make yourself more the kind of person you want to be?

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