Emotions pass, our responses to them shape us. --- LotuI love someone one moment, I feel jealous of him/her the next moment, then I hate him/her, and so on. Our emotions and feelings change over time, sometimes abruptly. They do not define us. The way we respond to theoe emotions, however, shapes us over time; makes us who we are.
I used to think of finding my essence as digging up a ground to find a treasure.
Now I have the image of a piece of dough that goes into an oven and becomes a loaf of bread. We may think that the potential, to become bread, was always somewhere inside the dough. Yet, without the temperature from the oven, the essence never comes to existence. In fact, if the oven temperature is not "balanced", the dough may never become the bread, or may burn altogether.
I find myself through my choices, my actions, and how I respond to my emotions and environment. I face an important choice: How much pressure, anxiety, competition, love, hate, anger ... I want to endure at any point in time. This is not a trivial choice. Too much life adversaries will burn me out, and too much of a peaceful life will spoil me.
I have to go through the oven. Sometimes, the oven is something as simple as staying with the moment and being bored.