Get to the kernel of it.

What is your identity?

The question is a head-scratcher, for sure, but it’s worth asking.

Is it your name, your hometown, your race, your religion? Is it your job, your interests, your accomplishments? Is it the sum total of your family history? Is it the same thing you put on your tax form every year?


Let’s get to the kernel of it: What remains when all those things fall away? What shows when the outer labels are taken off and the packages opened? What are people ultimately left with when they have interacted with you, even if they forget your name or what you do for a living? What do they connect with? What do YOU connect with?

If you peel back all the layers and end up with things like “my faith” and “my family,” look further: What is your faith about? What’s your family about? What’s the kernel of that?

Keep going. There comes a point where you can really go no further, when you end up with something like “love,” or “joy.” And you’ll notice that the more particular you get about the kernel, and the more specific you get about identity, the more universal that core idea becomes. It’s something that anyone can recognize, something that transcends all labels, categories, and distinctions. You as a person will disappear, and all that’s left is ____________.

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