Once when preparing a talk about finding your individual identity, I needed a visual example to prove that who you are isn’t what one would see on the outside, or pulchritude. I thought it over and prayed about the solution. Nothing was coming to me so I sat down and relaxed and not long after that a thought pierced my mind. It was almost like a eureka moment except I wouldn’t receive a noble prize for it. The solution, a clear glass jar.
The illustration went like so:
When looking at an empty clear glass jar, if one would ask you what kind of jar it is you would probably have to guess. Why would you have to guess? You would have to guess because nothing is in the jar that would give you an indicator as to what kind of jar it is. The lesson in this is that the jar in and of itself has no identity. What gives the jar its identity is what is inside of the jar. If candy filled the jar, it would be a candy jar. If cookies filled the jar, it would be a cookie jar. Or, if water filled the jar, it would be a water jar.
For you this means that your body doesn’t have an identity therefore your physical features cannot give you identity. What gives you identity are the ideas that you carry. Ideas being, thoughts, beliefs, convictions and etcetera.
Wait. You may be saying that isn’t necessarily true because when I go to the store to buy a jar designated cookie jar, I put cookies in it. This is true, but as easily as you put cookies in the jar I can replace the cookies with candy and instantly it’s a candy jar. A vessel is only useful if it is carrying something and the vessel’s identity no matter if it’s predetermined can only intelligently be identified by what’s in it.
Most people who grow up in an inner-city environment may have a certain look associated with urban environments. And since this is the case they may identify themselves with what goes on in that environment. Which is usually great negativity. Some people will look at this person and size them up just by their appearance without ever speaking to the person. This is similar to buying a jar designated cookie. It doesn’t matter what “people” has listed them as, as long as what they carry in their vessel (ideas) is different from what others have predetermined them to carry, which in this case is negativity. They may be in a bad environment but the bad environment doesn’t have to be in them.
This can apply to anything and anyone. Remember, it’s not what you look like that gives you your identity. Now of course, the way you dress and groom is an extension of your identity. You can’t look however you want and not be judged. What I’m referring to here is your physical features. Things that cannot be changed. Don’t worry about what people have listed you as, just worry about what ideas you will fill yourself up with.