This question has fascinated me the moment I heard it.
Of course this question can be understood in two ways: One way is who would you be if whatever happened to you in your life (that forms your life story) never happened?
The other meaning is the implication of what kind of person you have become as a result of having experienced your story in your life. In this article, I am using this meaning.
I have dealt with so many people who told me their stories in such heartfelt manner that was bound to capture my listening. Their fears, worries, pains, and memories formed unique constellations of meanings and emotions that demanded my respect and admiration for the strength they did not know they had.
When people talk about their problems, they do not immediately realize that the mere thing that aches them is the source of insight in their lives. The human psyche and brain are two miraculous creatures that are worth nothing but respect.
I see with people shedding their tears over stories that break their hearts. I hear people talk about themselves as if they were inferior or less perfect than others whom they admire. I deal with people who feel deep sadness or shame for leading unproductive lives, and wishing for ones that are more perfect.
I always listen to them with so much respect and say: Who would you be without your story? If you meet someone who is going through exactly the same story, you’d have so much knowledge and support for them, which will help them find solutions, like you did.
Our stories differentiate us and make us unique. Our ways of reacting to them is the signature we leave in this world. Why feel ashamed of it if with the knowledge you got out of it, you can help tens of people going through the same circumstances?
It’s important not to dwell on the past, but to harness the experience you got from it in ways that will help others around you. We all have problems, but the best of us are those who use the seed of knowledge in planting trees, whose fruits can brighten (benefit) other people’s lives.
I always invite people to remember who they really are and who they truly wish to be in this life.
In conclusion, there are two powerful questions that sum up what a person is all about:
What is your story? (Past)
What legacy do you wish to leave in this world? (Future)