We often criticize people who are insecure/unconfident/have low self-esteem (I’m not sure if those are three different things or if there’s some/complete overlap — I’ll just use “insecure” to stand in for all of them) for focusing on their properties. This is particularly so when it comes to people who are romantically insecure. We tell such people “you shouldn’t worry about being loved for your wealth/looks/smarts/niceness — you should love yourself just how you are and other people will love you just how you are too.”
Yet this seems to be based on some kind of really weird notion of personal identity. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I think of who it is that I “am,” I think of a bunch of properties. I am a PhD student, I am a politically active person, I am someone who is loyal to his friends and ferocious to his enemies, I am someone who takes a lot of photographs, occasionally acts and plays the harmonica, and has been caught writing a poem or two, etc. (I am, god help me, a blogger.) What is this part of one’s self that exists apart from what one does, what qualities, one has? Where can this propertyless self that everyone is supposed to love actually be found?