You may say I am a teacher, or a civil servant. In Bhutan, we often refer to ourselves with our jobs and titles and designations because we think that is who we are. That’s also why we take offence when there are criticisms directed at our organisation, even if they are positive.
However, our titles, decorations, or our positions do not define who we are. They just give us a social standing, a place in this world but not our greater purpose or happiness. Titles will leave us one day. They will get taken away.
I know asking an abstract question, “Who am I?” is not easy – especially at your age. So I suggest you start by exploring your roots, or your ancestry. For example, if you find that your ancestors were lamas, you could create an identity for yourself as someone who helps others all the time. But again, that’s just your social identity and not your true self.
Unless you know yourself, you will never know what you want to do, or what you want to be. You will never be happy. Wellbeing, then, would be a distant dream. It won’t matter how big your car, or your office is. The question is to look for what truly makes you happy.
Likewise we also need to delve on who we are as a nation. One positive offshoot of the pandemic has been that people have started pondering on this question. Who are we? Do we keep depending on others for everything? Are we not better than that? Can we be appreciative of our own people, our own country, our own leaders? Can we stop exporting potatoes and importing labourers? Can we roll our sleeves and get to work?
You may think that you are too young to be concerned of these big national questions. Well, the fact of the matter is, this country belongs to you more than to me. I mean you have a longer stake than me. You may think that you are only twenty. But another 20 years will just fly away in a wink and you will find yourself suddenly in leadership positions. What do you do then?
(Some random excerpts from my talk on wellbeing on the second day of a three-day training in ECCD facilitation in Paro where I was encouraging to make wellbeing part of the ECCD classes )