On Having an Identity


Growing up, my mother always used to tell me “nkan ti ko ba lenu kii gbon ju eyan lo”. This loosely translates into “things that don’t have mouths are never smarter than human beings”. Granted, she usually only said this whenever she caught me trying to pry open a can without using a can opener or trying to drink water without using a cup (don’t ask). But the more people I meet and the more of life I experience, the more I realize that my mom may have been wrong after all.

There are many mouthless things that exhibit far more intelligence than many of us human beings and I am not talking about the iPad or the Android. Lets take for example, a pebble. A humble, lowly pebble. It doesn’t matter how many times you step on one, scrub it with a brush, or flush it down the toilet, a pebble will always resemble a pebble. It may become a little worn out from all the torture and it might even fade a little bit but you will never look at that pebble and question what it is.

Now, turn the tables and look at us human beings. Half of us don’t even know who we are. We know what we like, we can rattle off pi to the 10th decimal place, and we know what we do for a living but when it comes down to the essence of who we really are, many have no idea.

How is it that a tiny pebble can maintain the essence of it’s identity regardless of what life throws at it, yet as human beings, we are apt to lose ourselves in the daily hustle and bustle of getting by?

To be sure, many people manage to get through life without having a sense of identity that is independent of their environment. However, my guess is that those people are not the Martin Luther Kings or the Ghandis of our time. So the question is, who are you really? and is that person strong enough to face life’s challenges just like a pebble can?

“self discovery”, “finding peace”, “seeking the inner self”, “learning of self” call it what you may but the fact is that life remains an uphill battle until you can articulate with no uncertain words, who you are as a person. Until next time, stay motivated!

2 thoughts on “On Having an Identity

  1. Kola (i guess that’s ur name), nice article here but i guess u wont mind if i criticise it a lil’ i just started reading ur articles this morning, a friend actually recommend them to me. Meanwhile, on this, i must say in your assessment, you can’t compare human being with a non-living object like “pebble”, it’s way incomparable, i wouln’t have had an issue if you ‘d use a plant or animal for your comparison ‘cos a pebble doesn’t think, it does not have any sense nor responsibility and any object of same characteristics would be just fime no matter the condition it finds itself…but “HUMANS” a whole lot of issues that run through our heads make us the way we are. Thanks

  2. Hi Seun,
    I always love getting feedback from my readers so i definitely appreciate your comment. You are right in pointing out that human beings are far more complex than pebbles. In fact, we are essentially saying the same thing. I chose to use an inanimate object in order to create a more vivid contrast. Had I used a monkey or a flower, the conclusion would still be: “every other creation has a definite identity, why are human beings an exception?”
    Kola :)

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