Defining Yourself – It’s Not So Easy!

We are all proponents of the art of self branding. We all practice it every single day, most of us without even realizing it.

We all makes choices everyday where the resulting outcome is a much an extension of our personality than any logical thought process.

We all have a basic need to define ourselves, our place in the world and our role within our various social circles.

We crave acceptance but also individuality and all our choices are ultimately guided by this.

Do you drink wine or beer? Buy Nike or Adidas trainers? Shop in bargain stores or stick to the big name stores or do you like to thrall the thrift shops in search of that something unique?

If you take the economic factor out of it, the choices that we make ultimately become a matter of personality and the image we wish to portray of ourselves.

Everything we do and say, purchase or visit, listen too, or consume is an extension of our inner urge to be what we want others to see us as.

Some of us are comfortable with ourselves, so these choices are easy and are an actual extension of ourselves.

For others, unfortunately, the quest to discover “themselves” is ongoing and those choices are ultimately an attempt to build the image we want others to see.

At the end of the day, it’s all a public portrayal of what we want our “inner me” to be perceived as.

In the end we are creating a brand, just like Apple, Microsoft, Ferrari, Skoda, Madonna or Coca Cola with the exception being that the product is you (or me).

This extends onto the internet as well.

Look at your blog.

What theme are you using, have you customized (or attempted to customize it), what avatars do you have, what color scheme are you using?

You get the point I’m trying to make here.

So, considering I was sitting here contemplating this very topic this morning (while asking folk on twitter what color shirt I should wear)I was surprised to see a post by Sara (a fellow Fuelmyblog writer who will be joining us at SOBCon08 in Chicago), which was provoked by a question she heard on the radio.

If you had to get a tattoo today that was one word or picture that would sum up your life or personality, what would it be?

Awesome question, right? It’s something that certainly requires a lot of thought.

To be honest with you guys, I’ve been thinking about this all morning and haven’t got a suitable single word to sum myself up.

I have come up with a word for how I see my future life – “rapture“. I’ll leave you guys to figure out how that fits in on your own!

Yet defining myself now, I couldn’t come up with a word (I’ve been spending so long speaking Danish I think my English vocabulary is waning) so instead had to define myself by an image.

Ultimately I don’t think this image (which is the motif from my favorite tie) would ever make a good tattoo, but what can you do?

So, dear O’Flaherty readers, what is it that that best defines you as a person?

8 thoughts on “Defining Yourself – It’s Not So Easy!

  1. This is a tough question for the start of a working week. But thinking about this makes me wonder if it’s possible to define oneself on an absolute scale, i.e. without at least indirectly defining those around us? The tie, which I like very much BTW, shows my point – you can only portray yourself as different relative to those from which you wish to differ. And what happens if I show up somewhere wearing the same tie? As you say, we all want to be accepted, and we all want to be different, but how many times do you decide to do something different, only to discover that you’re part of some new trend? Well, I haven’t answered your question, but what I’ve learned by thinking about this is that without each other, we could never be ourselves.


  2. @Erich I agree with you 100% that the concept of self definition, branding or even simply standing out can only exist if you have a base to gauge yourself against.

    With that in mind, I think it is impossible to define yourself without creating, insinuating or presenting some sort of commentary on those you know.


  3. I would define myself as “Dash”. Ever since I read about this, I just cannot get away from it. The dash is all that we are. It is the small horizontal line between our year of birth and year of death on our headstone.

    It boils down to what you would like your family and friends say about you at your funeral.


  4. Erich, that is a nice point you make about the tie. You can wear one if you must, to either conform to a dress code, or to make a statement. I know people who are perpetually broke because they are buying branded apparel, when comfortable and presentable alternatives are available. Who do you think is impressed? Is the person who is, if at all, impressed, likely to come to the financial rescue of the Branded suit peacock?


  5. We crave acceptance but also individuality and all our choices are ultimately guided by this.

    You are absolutely right about this – there is always that constant struggle between gaining acceptance and seeking out our own individuality. I think this becomes even more complicated when our individuality is expressed in terms of the type of people we like to be, not necessarily the people we are. It’s something that I think evolves with our experiences. I tend to believe that knowing oneself is in a constant state of flux.


  6. I like the question you asked. I think my tattoo sums me up pretty good. I have never ever regretted getting it. My initials, my father’s initials, and my grandfather’s initials are all the same, so I got that on the inside of my wrist. I have strong family values and I feel that I am who I am because of how I was raised. My father recently passed away and he was my world. I would not be who I am today if it was not for his love, support, and encouragement. So my tattoo defines me pretty well. I am my father’s daughter — and when I see that tattoo, it makes me strive to be a better person.

    I think that as long as you are yourself, and as long as you’re the best person you can be — you can’t go wrong!


  7. Since I read this post I have been thinking a lot about the question within. I guess it’s safe to say that I could never decide on that tattoo in one day. However, after much deliberation I must say my tattoo would have to be an entire Michaelangelo-ean mural with hundreds or thousands of images 🙂

    I’m WAY too complicated to just put in one tattoo. I guess that’s the reason why I’ve already planned some 5-10 different tattoos 😀


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