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Avoid 3 myths about self-identity, priest tells pilgrims

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LIPA, Batangas, May 11, 2013 —True happiness lies not on one’s possessions or achievements but in knowing and accepting one’s identity as a child of God, a priest said. 

Contrary to what popular thinking suggests, people are not fulfilled or defined by wealth or even accomplishments but by being humble and surrendering to God, according to psychologist Fr. Dennis Paez, SDB. 

Speaking to more than a thousand pilgrims during the Total Consecration Conference and Pilgrimage last May 1, Fr. Paez said that in order to be truly fulfilled and happy, it is important for people to recognize the top 3 misconceptions about what define us as persons. 

“Know thyself. Kilalanin mo kung sino ka. Kung hindi para kang nasa thread mill, 30 minutes ka na, andiyan ka parin (Know who you are. If not, it’s like being on a thread mill, you’ve been on for 30 minutes, but you don’t get anywhere),” the priest said. 

Paez said the first illusion about identity people believe at one point or another is that “who I am is what I have.” 

Somehow people have the tendency to falsely believe, the higher class of things one acquires, the better kind of person one becomes. 

“’Yung tao na may mas malaking bahay, may magandang kotse, ang taas ng tingin natin sa kanila (We have a high regard for the person with a big house, a nice car). Doon nakasalalay ang identity ko, kung anong mayroon ko (That’s where my identity is based, on what I have,” Paez explained, citing Filipinos share in this thinking culturally.   

The second wrong idea about identity is “who I am is what I do.” 

According to the Salesian priest, some people will believe that they are their profession – they are simply engineers, architects or lawyers – eventually losing their sense of self when they can no longer do their job because of sudden illness, retirement or incapacity. 

Bata pa lang tayo tinatanim sa isip natin na importante ay ang kaya mong gawin.

Wala kinalaman ‘yan sa kung saan ka galing, (From childhood, it is planted in our minds that what is important is what we can do. It has nothing to do with where we really come from),” he added. 

The third and one of the most persistent illusions about what gives a person value is “who I am is what others think of me.” 

Kung bilib sila s’akin, wow, bilib na rin ako sa sarili ko (If you impressed by me, then wow, I’ll be impressed by me too),”  Paez, who gave a talk on ‘Knowledge of Self’ to some 1,300 pilgrims at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church in Lipa, Batangas, said. 

The priest, who also gives talks on marriage and family life, said this false belief can be the cause of a lot of heartbreak, confusion and insecurity. 

“Piece of God” 

To clarify identity and be truly happy, people need to humbly realize that every person comes from God – an “incarnate soul” or a “divine piece of God.” 

Kailangan mong bumalik kung saan ka galing para mas makilala mo ang sarili mo (You need to go back to where you came from to know yourself more),” Paez explained. 

And this can be concretely lived out by giving one’s self completely to Jesus through Mary – the total consecration.  [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]


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