Who Are We Really?

So, who am I? 3 little words that communicate the biggest question any of us can ever be asked.

For me, answering this question is a lifetime’s work, because the person we all think we know best, we actually know the least. And that’s because, unless you got really lucky when you were growing up, we are not taught to understand ourselves, to be curious about ourselves, nor to observe ourselves and as a consequence, we struggle to understand and connect at a deep, authentic and truthful level with others too.

Instead, we are taught to study subjects that can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, are tangible, logical, and quite frankly,  easy to write down, assess our competence in, communicate and pass on through the generations. We are given an intellectual and physical education, but not an emotional one – interestingly the most important of all and one I would argue, that is the easiest to teach and actually does not need to be written down, simply demonstrated through our actions and behaviours. Indeed, if we were all to receive an emotional education, I believe that we would avoid much of the loneliness, self-sabotage, suffering, and human conflict we currently live with. As Carl Jung wisely said:

The privilege of a lifetime, is to become who you really are.

And I believe the ability to become who we really are is dependant on each of us receiving an emotional, as well as an intellectual, and physical education. An emotional education is one where we are taught how to understand, observe, and to be curious about ourselves and others, to ask the question, why do we respond to certain things in a certain way, what are our core values, what really brings us joy and perhaps most importantly of all, who were we before the layers of life were painted upon us? And the reason that these and other questions are so important, is that as human beings we are all effectively the walking wounded.

No matter how much our parents and families loved us, our teachers supported us and our friends held our hands, we will all have encountered hurt, betrayal, rejection, failure, and suffering to a lesser or greater extent, it is an indisputable part of being human. And therefore all of us will have our own unique triggers, truths, and beliefs moulded by experience. If we can understand and accept this, we can start to look at ourselves and others with far more compassion and kindness, because we can begin to look beyond the behaviours to their root causes and therefore speak to the inner, vulnerable part of ourselves and others, rather than the egoic, superficial facade so many of us remain trapped in for much of our life. As Wayne Dwyer so touchingly said:

“We have a choice, we can be right or we can be kind”.

And I have no doubt that we have all been driven by the need to be right and as a result suffered conflict, regret, and loss. And therein lies the real tragedy, because being right blinds us to seeing what is really going on at a much deeper and more truthful level. We are so immersed in proving our point that we fail to see the wounds of the other, nor our own, both of which are driving a set of behaviours at odds with one another, when in truth we are just 2 vulnerable, traumatised people trying to find a safe haven. It’s a little bit like having a cut that you ignore and it gets infected, but the problem is because you did not acknowledge the cut, you did not know you had it, nor that as time goes on it is getting worse and causing more pain and more toxicity. Therefore you learn to live with that pain and it becomes your identity, because how can you heal what you do not know is there? It is only when you lift up your covers and have the courage to look below, that you finally see the cut and understand that in order for you to be free from the pain and return to your true, peaceful self, the cut must be cleaned and allowed to heal.

Often our wounds are discovered when they are triggered by others’ actions or words. We can know this by observing our behaviour in an objective, kind and non-judgemental way. It is important to understand what elicits an angry, fearful, defensive or judgemental response, that is precious information we can use to start to really understand ourselves, how our life experiences have shaped us and how we can move beyond them so that each new experience is just that – it is not prejudiced by those that have gone before, we can choose a different response, we can choose not to respond and we can choose not to allow it to inflict yet more wounds. Ultimately, any negative response that ‘puts your hackles up’, brings a knot into your stomach, or pushes you into a justification of some sort, is being driven by a fear of something. As Ram Dass profoundly said:

When I am afraid of something, I come up as close to it as possible and I notice my resistance. I allow myself to just notice the resistance because the resistance intensifies the fear – there’s no doubt about it. Get as close to fear as you can, noticing the boundaries of it, just being with it, seeing it as it is.

And it is through the act of allowing yourself to truly see your fears, to get up close to them, that you can liberate yourself, through simply seeing the raw, unfiltered truth, recognising your wounds, and understanding yourself just a little bit more.

So, answering the question ‘who am I?’ is a lifetimes study for me and that is why I would simply say I am a student of life, exploring all that it has to offer.

With love

Nik x


Nik Davis
Nik Davis
NIK DAVIS is a business transformation expert and has spent 20 years in the corporate world. Her comfort zone is order, logic and applying analytical tools to solve complex problems. She is also a keen observer of life, a writer and eccentric. Nik has recently returned to the world of work after taking a career break to spend time with her family. Upon her return, she found that her perspective had changed, as had the world she was returning to. Nik decided to carve out a new place in that world and mould some of it to fit her too. Nik sees life from quirky angles, shaped by experiences and the vast amount of knowledge we now have access to. She likes to write about her experiences and observations. To ‘tell it how it is’ and to find a more authentic way to live, whether in our professional or personal lives. Nik often talks about finding ‘The Third Way’. It’s a philosophy about life, having a personal life as well as a career, making money and being socially generous, being logical and sensitive, living by the rules of a society but not being afraid to challenge them, inspiring others to feel good but not for your own ego, giving rather than taking. Nik wants to make a difference to this world by getting people to see things differently, to try new ways of working but most of all, to re-discover our true selves and therefore reach our true potential. Nik also has two other persona’s: nikdavis which is where Nik writes about her deeply personal experiences of life. Nik runs a facebook group alongside this website to create a safe place for people to discuss the topics that are raised in her blog. Nik’s second persona is Lilly Isabella and this is where she shares her passion of fashion and design.

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  1. Dear Nik,

    A most revealing article. Walking wounded, kindness, empathy; acknowledging both sides and optimism; positivity.
    I sometimes ask myself the question, who am I? I have even written it down in order to stimulate my thought process. It does have a lot to do with Earnhardt’s childhood and beyond. We are certainly not taught to analyse who we are. I have not really arrived at an answer! I know what I like to do and I guess that’s as close as I can get. Writing can provide others with an insight to another’s ‘identity’ but asking someone who they are may be greeted with a degree of concern! Thank you, for a most revealing article.

  2. Hi, Nik Davis.
    Thank you for your interesting and challenging article. Good stuff.

    Guess I musta bin wunna the lucky ones. My mother was once admonished by one of my high school science teachers for teaching her children to think for themselves.

    I can still remember at age 4 years hiding behind my mother’s skirts when she was talking to a friend of hers whom I did not know. Those days are LONG GONE.

    My father could not handle emotions, his own or anybody else’s, like most men back in the day – 1940s and ’50s.

    My mother was a whole different person. She could handle her emotions and the emotions of others and she taught all four of her children to take responsibility for whatever we felt, examine ourselves to see what the REAL causes of our emotions were and to deal with those issues.

    As I see myself these days, I am about equal parts extrovert and introvert. People can either take me as I am or leave me but I will still be me. I don’t feel any need for validation from others. I like to kid myself that I know myself well enough to not need it.

    I don’t seek to help people but will help where and how I can when asked without expectation of any reciprosity or reward. I don’t seek to tell people how to live their lives but I do try to start them thinking about it.

    I want to be more than I currently am before I pass on but I am very comfortable with the ‘me’ that I am at the moment.

    On another level and although I can’t prove it, I am pretty sure that I am a spiritual being having a physical journey in order to learn some lessons. To put it another way, I strongly suspect that I am rather more than just this physical body and current personality. I have long lived my life with the view that if I ever stop learning, I will be dead, at least from the neck up.

    Just my 0.02. Thanks again.

    You have a wonderful day. Best wishes. Deas Plant.

  3. Thank you very much Dr Dennis Pitocco for sharing this article. I would like to quote a Sanskrit verse here or atleast a translation of it ” Who Am I ? From where I have arrived here as a Soul power , who has created me, whats my mission … There is a text written by Adi Shankaracharya in Sanskrit titled as Swaadhyaya Aparokshaanubhutihi … though the meaning is philosophical , yet ,the applicability to induce energy of clarity of actions, reactions, contemplation and preparation of logical plan to execute progressively dynamic plan to attain goal is possible. Relative position of the thought in cosmology or spirituality too carries same line of thought . Infact , Spiritual or cosmic intelligence does give us a push to get into the field of thought of ,’Who Am I’ , in order to gather and synergize our strength and potential , before dynamically proceeding to logical plan and logical end result , … Second , example similarly is from ‘Know your enemy and know thyself …’

    Such thoughts often are encountered , while we reach the criticality of resolving chaotic or difficult phase may be due to anxiety or fear if failure . failure ,or to synergize and synchronise our thoughts and strength of willpower to accomplish the mission
    Liked your statement , “When I am afraid of something, I come up as close to it as possible and I notice my resistance. I allow myself to just notice the resistance because the resistance intensifies the fear – there’s no doubt about it. Get as close to fear as you can, noticing the boundaries of it, just being with it, seeing it as it is.”

  4. I loved reading this Nik, It caught my attention as we must be on the same vibration today.
    My post was about “Who you are”. And in essence, resonates with a lot here. The life lessons and experiences are all part of the travelling in life. To find out that who we are is really coming into contact with ourselves. The most important relationship and frankly, to me life saving…is that true connection and the value that you are born with. In all things life… the more we struggle with who we are and searching for love… the more we are at risk with that battle for mental health. True compassion and the discovery of self love is what finds you comfortable with who you are.

    There’s so much to support this and I’m very happy to see this here today! Thank you for the words my friend.

    There is nothing wrong with ….WHO YOU ARE
    Might I share my thought quotes here…

    Is knowing yourself..
    The me inside
    Who follows myself
    To become the “I” that I am

    “Never let someone else define who you are… That is for you to know and them to learn “