Friday Question: Are You Your Experiences?

Hello, it’s Friday. Need I say more?

I’ll just say that I hope you have an open mind this fine day, because I’ve got a whopper of a question for you.

I’ll be the first to say that this is not a typical question you think about, but it’s one I think needs to be considered more, because it’s kind of a big deal. It’s a big deal in that it’s how you choose to view yourself. And come on, how are you not a big deal in your own eyes?

Okay, so here is: are you your experience? Is the truest form of yourself changed or altered or affected by your experiences, the events and adventures that you embark on?

Are you your experiences? Until tomorrow.



59 thoughts on “Friday Question: Are You Your Experiences?

  1. Nice one! answer: To some extent.

    Reasoning – there are good and bad experiences. I learn from all of them, but don´t let the bad ones impact who I am. I take the lesson from each, good or bad and see if it fits with my values, if it does, it automatically becomes part of me and can slightly change who I am, but I´m conscious about not letting bad experiences make me more negative or change my view of my surroundings.

    I also try to turn this whole process around – seeking experiences that can open up a different side of me, one I wasn´t aware about or wasn´t using.

    Life should be about new experiences (good or bad). If we´re sheltered in a routine and don´t experience much, we stagnate and don´t learn (about ourselves, our surroundings, other people, life).

  2. Oh goodness, if you have not been changed by your experiences in life, then hypothetically speaking, you have not lived. In reality, you have lived. You are breathing right now as you read this. Have you heard of the saying, “your past is like jail, if you keep going back there is something you haven’t learnt”? Whether that experience from your past is a good experience or a bad experience, regardless there is something to be learnt from it.

    Some people claim that people never change. Of course we change in our behaviour towards our environment: “once bitten, twice shy” but who we are is developed through our values and what we consider to be the quintessence of our beliefs in life. Our experiences don’t change our values, they develop them, they alter them and if at all they change them, then they were never steadfast.

    The events and adventures I would consider partaking on last year are certainly different to the ones I would take on tomorrow. I am not talking about a trip to Disney World, but we all know that there are 3 aspects to life: past, present and future. Each are interrelated but neither control each other. The past is there as a memory to help you better live your present based on your experiences. How you react today will be based on what you learnt yesterday. What events and adventures you choose to journey on today will be different to what you would have embarked on yesterday, simply because the past has taught you insight.

  3. You asked two questions…
    1) “Is the truest form of yourself changed or altered or affected by your experiences, the events and adventures that you embark on?” — If nothing stays the same – everything is changing all the time, moment to moment – and you could say that life is not only change (internal) but also experience (external) then it follows that the answer to your question must be yes…
    2) But there is something within us that adds to (or is more than) our experience (synergy?), so the answer to the second question, “Are you your experiences?” is yes and more.

      • Well, if we are “souls” (have intellect, feelings) then we are something that is more than just our experience… but… at the same time that we experience, we analyze, learn, incorporate, discount, (etc.) the experience and because we do this, we (and the experience) become more (than any one part – synergy).

        Not a great example but should serve: sort of like a tree — the tree ‘is’ (soul) — the roots, branches, sunlight, air/wind, water, soil, nutrients, etc. (experiences) — the tree ‘experiences’ and processes these… and because it ‘is’, these combine to make leaves or fruit (more than the parts).

      • I sort of get the idea through your example. I completely agree with you in that experiences definitely play a major role in one’s life, and are a part of being human.

  4. I believe that your “conscious” self – the ego – is definitely shaped by your experience. However, your true self – who you are at your core – is constant and unchanging. It is this part of ourselves that we need to tap into more often, especially in times of turmoil.

    • That was exactly what I was looking for – one that does not follow the traditional belief.. If you would do me the biggest favor and write that to those that do not believe that so that we may have an interesting debate going here, because you have an opposing belief to most everyone else. I want to see how people react.

      • Hi mprose,

        I don’t feel that belief is something that should be debated. There is no right or wrong way to view ourselves and our relationship to the world. It is up to the individual as to how each perceives it. However, you are free to use my personal view of how experience shapes us in one of your posts if you choose.

      • Okay, I’ll do that then. I don’t mean to put you in a place you aren’t comfortable with. I just enjoy when my views are challenged, because I am almost always exposed to new insights I had previously not seen.

  5. My experiences are just that….my experiences. I am not them, nor are they me. But they make up the framework of who I choose to be, moment by moment, lifetime after lifetime. The experiences come and go, here for a reason, recognized or not.

    I am grateful for every one.

    • So if we are the sum total of our choices, in the beginning, when we were only just babies, or even before that if you believe in past lives, were we nothing? No choices, no experiences yet. What do you say to that?

  6. Is this one of those questions that asks, “Is this really my life, or am I just a giant brain floating around in the hither and yon making up all this love and misery?”

  7. You guys got deep today.I am and I respond to events because of who I am. The events cause me to ponder my choices. Sometimes I think I got it so I respond quickly. Sometimes I wonder so I pause. THe external does not make me who I am. My reflections cause me to make different choices if I run into a similar situation. I am me so I agree with Dean K Miller. Good question! Good conversation.

  8. Thank you for reading my post and liking it 🙂
    You ask very good questions. Very hard questions too. Am I my experience? No, I don’t think so, but it’s hard to say because in life experiences seem to change me.
    I believe that people are spirit beings with a soul, in a body. My spirit is who I really am, my soul is my emotions, feelings, how I think … what I use to experience the world. But spirit and soul are so closely together it’s hard to separate the two. For the outside world they look the same.
    Experiences may change my soul (and they do, they change how I feel or think about certain matters) but my spirit, who I really am deep down inside, is me. That stays the same.

    • I totally see what you mean, and I connect with your words, I agree. But it’s funny because you used completely different vocabulary than I would, and so if I was reading this without any sort of context or understanding, I would disagree.

      Great words, thank you.

  9. I think my experiences would define me to a certain extent, and that those experiences – my experiences and perceptions of them – would certainly push me in some directions over the course of my life so far. I could say that I am who I am despite of those experiences though.
    But if we are not moved by our experiences, and not defined by them, then at the base core, we should all be the same person, right? Don’t we all start out that way?

    • Very interesting thoughts, you say things that will now certainly come up in my piece. Yes, to be honest I believe we all start out from the same great energy, and maybe that’s where we’ll end up too. I don’t really think there is a concrete beginning or end, though, just continual existence… it’s hard for me to explain right now, and this isn’t the time either way.

      But yes, I do believe we are something more than our experiences, and what you said connects with that. If you wouldn’t mind writing to someone else that disagrees, my goal is to get some conversation going.

      • I don’t think there is an agreeable or disagreeable answer unless you already made up your ind about what would be the right answer. Different people would have different perspectives on the matter and hence, different beliefs as to what would constitute the core personality of a person. How malleable that is really is dependent on that person own point of view, wouldn’t you think?

      • My view and thoughts on the matter is exactly what I wrote before, as your own view is (I would expect) what you put in the follow-up piece.
        I just feel that neither of us is right nor wrong.

  10. No,I don’t think I’m only my experiences.If that would be the case,I would be nothing as a newborn.
    I think ME is a mix from: experiences I learned from, my true self that I was born with and maybe somethimg else I don’t know yet.So those experiences change a part of ME but not all of it.How much it changes me, depends on the experience.
    Great question!Got me into ‘deep thinking’! 🙂

  11. You can tell from families that some traits are genetic or part of a person from birth. But a great, great deal of who we are is from experiences or choices we make. That’s why I find people so interesting (and why I read and write about them): it’s far more interesting, in my opinion, to look at a person and try to understand why they believe what they do instead of just taking it at face value.
    Actually a few days ago I had a similar conversation with a friend of mine (coming home from a sociology class): she said it bothered her how much of what she believed or thought came from her family and people she’d been around. She didn’t like the idea that her opinions weren’t “hers.”
    It doesn’t bother me, though. For one thing, not all of us comes from experience. I’m much more optimistic than my mother and sister, who have pretty similar personalities. That’s got to be somehow inherent. But the idea that most of me is experience doesn’t undermine the part of me that I was born with. I think my experiences are just as much mine as anything I was or had from birth.

  12. Many of us have no doubt been affected by bad experiences in early life and I’m no exception to that.

    However, I feel that I am changing more recently – growing, even – as I push myself towards confronting my fears and everything that has held me back or scared me off in the past. I feel as though I am slowly becoming my new experiences.

  13. I think my truest self is shaped by my experiences. Meaning how I respond to things will be a result of how I responded to things in the past, so my actions will be guided by experience but what I think or how I feel will be guided by my truest self. Thank you for stopping by and liking my post.

  14. No :-). Though I can’t “be” without experience. The question begs to be answered in a nice and tidy format, filed away under “answered”. Yet some questions are lived rather than answered. I have “lived” long enough only to give the first complete sentence of this reply :-
    Lol! I am a thinker and chew on words and thoughts. Love this particular selection from your blog ( others too).

  15. Pingback: YOUer than You | esserealis

  16. I believe every experience shapes us in some way. It’s inevitable isn’t it? The question is how do we choose to respond to our experiences? I believe that shapes who we are and who we become. What do you guys think?

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