Searching for self

Hearing of how Cambridge Analytica used a personality type questionnaire via Facebook to access personal records got me thinking.  Why do so many of us do these quizzes and what makes them so appealing?  The answer lies in that universal question – who am I?

I can remember the times when someone told me who I was.  I was sitting in the backseat of the car about 30 years ago and my dad said “You are Irish.”  That statement started a feeling of pride in me that has never gone away.  More recently a fellow writer told me “you are an author now” after I’d sent away my book to get it published.

Both of those declarations about who I am are difficult to say – one for political reasons and the other because of self-doubt.  There is something very powerful about statements of identity, especially in this era of uncertainty.  That’s why people do those surveys – to read the words, ‘You are…’.  We need to know we are something, that we mean something, that we matter.  When you don’t have a career, or the job title, or the recognition you feel you deserve, then it is difficult to say who you are as a person.

For me, the solution is simultaneously easy, and hard to accept.  My faith tells me I am a child of God.  It tells me that the eternal Father has a plan for my life.

Just like that, the craving for self-definition is blown away by a rock-solid truth.  So next time a ‘what Star Wars character are you’ or ‘what’s your personality type’ quiz appears on Facebook, why not ignore it?  Why not take all those question-marks over who you are to the Bible.  The answers are all there.

And that, my friend, will blow your mind.

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