"Loving-kindess toward ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. [It] means that we can still be crazy, we can still be angry. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. [Our] practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That's what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest."
~ Pema Chodron
I remember taking a lecture class years ago and the instructor asking us to answer the question.... WHO ARE YOU? Like most of the people in the room, I answered the question with the roles I play..... wife, sister, daughter, business owner, yoga teacher, architect. But, of course, that's not what she was asking us to answer. She wanted us to dig deeper... to go below the surface of the myriad ways we present ourselves outwardly to the world. "Oh," I thought.... "I don't know if I can answer THAT question."
Fast forward 10+ years and I'm still not sure that I could answer it with any great clarity.... but that's part of the practice, right!? What I can tell you, is that with "tremendous curiosity and interest," I have come closer to at least understanding the question. And, even though I still hold all those exterior roles, when I look inward to reflect on the bigger question, I do know that I'm not the same person I was then. We never are. We are only who we are right now.
I've also heard this question asked specifically in regards to yoga asana, which I think is a great exploration for when we are on our yoga mats... WHO ARE YOU IN THE POSTURE? Are you the same person in Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)... that you are in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)... that you are in Savasana (Corpse Pose)???
Here's to being grounded in that curiosity both on and off the mat!