“I fear the moment I’m truly happy with myself, I won’t be myself anymore,” he said quietly.

It is cooling down outside on the rooftop of the office building. Both of them are looking out over the skyscrapers.

“But wouldn’t that version of yourself be a better version? Even if it’s a different version?”

“Yes, but would that person still be me? Or would it be a successful happy guy whose success will rise to his head and slowly turn him into a dick?”

“I don’t think you’ll ever change that much. People like being around you. And that’s not just because you’re unhappy with who you are.”

“Hmm, maybe.” He puts his hand on her shoulder. “Thanks.”

“How much of your identity do you think is already set in stone when you’re born?”

“Not that much I think. I know that self image is fully based on the people you interact with.”

“Are self image and identity the same thing?”

“Maybe not. I think my self image is different from my identity, at least by a bit. Maybe my self image is a blurry mirror image of my identity. Some bits missing, others skewed by how I interpret my identity.”

“But that means that you’re not fully in control of your identity?”

“Oh no yeah I don’t think you are - exactly because it’s determined so much by external forces. You can’t control how your identity is formed, you can only reflect on it, try to understand it, try to be aware of your strengths and shortcomings and try to utilise and compensate those.”

“Do you even need to compensate for your shortcomings?”

“Maybe not for yourself - you just need to accept them. But you might want to compensate for them in your interactions with others. You don’t want to negatively affect other people’s identities by exposing them too much to your vices.”

They finish their smoke.

“Let’s go inside.”