The Heart of The Matter: How Do We Identify And Define Ourselves?

It seems like the question of identity has come up a lot lately. I’m not going to be commenting on Bruce/Caitlyn or about people seeing themselves as transabled or transracial.

Instead, I want to ask everyone: How do you define yourselves?

The center of all of these current news stories is the question of identity and how one defines oneself.

What exactly defines being male or female? What defines race? What defines sexuality? Does it really have to do with how you feel? How do you decide that? Society’s definition on masculinity and femininity, race, and sexuality has changed throughout the centuries and depends on the culture. 

I recently found this video on YouTube about dealing with identity and while I agreed with some aspects of it, like how our identity is subject to change as we grow up, I didn’t agree with the idea of being the only one in control of my identity. More often than not, I’ve seen people let things like politics and other people have that control over their identity and yes, that applies to religion as well.

But there’s a big difference between gathering labels in order to figure out aspects of yourself and defining yourself by these labels. The major major problem with defining yourself by the labels the world has to offer is that they are limiting. Marc Barnes AKA Bad Catholic has a wonderful series of posts on his blog that delves more into this current identity crisis

The real question I want to ask is why do we choose things such as our gender, sexuality, or race to define ourselves? They are parts of our identity, for sure, but that’s all they are. Parts. Choosing to define ourselves by just one part of ourselves is like identifying all of Picasso’s paintings by just saying that they’re blue, even though not all of them are. Our identity needs to be rooted in something outside of ourselves, just as a tree is rooted in the ground.

I’m not saying that we should let the world define who we are. I’m saying to look beyond the world. We keep looking around the world for ourselves, but we find the world lacking. I’m not asking that you believe me right away. But then again, you don’t have to take my word for it.

 

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”- C.S. Lewis

“You have made us for yourself,” St. Augustine said. “And our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

“My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” John 18:36

If you’re wondering where to start searching for your identity, start by asking the Sacred Heart of Jesus on this solemnity. Sooner or later, we all find ourselves echoing Paul’s words:

“I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”- Galatians 2:19-20

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