What we do doesn't define us, it's who we are that defines what we do.
It sounds the same, but if you think about it, we are much quicker usually to define a person and their character by their actions, rather than understand that the actions are driven by the person. If we did, we could be more empathic, give deeds less value than being the definers of an entire person. People are more dynamic and complicated than that.
It's so hard! I struggle with this constantly.
I've been thinking the opposite for a while, but nowadays it makes sense the other way around. Your deeds will always be the result of...you. Feeling and thinking, experiencing, going about life. Those deeds are the ultimate manifestations of who we are, but only at moments in time, and not forever. Every day you are slightly different, and so your deeds might be different too - this becomes most clear to me when I dance, with myself or with others.
At times I feel extremely emotional, but not sure what emotion it is or why. I'll then play a song and freestyle for 5 minutes, and usually - it gives me a pretty good idea of what I'm feeling. The other layer I learned recently is about the "true self" vs the "false self". Reading a book called "The drama of the gifted child", there was a section talking about how as kids, we might not experience the safety to explore our own emotions and develop emotionally to satisfy our parents, or more accurately - our parents' insecurities.
A kid that learns to be quiet about their needs as to not cause discomfort to their parents may develop to be an adult that struggles to understand their own needs. This might manifest in different ways, but the key point is that - without going back, mourning, and experiencing those moments we missed in childhood, our "true self" stays stuck in the past, while the "false self" that we have developed to present outwards plays out our present.
This choice we make as kids is innate - we don't think about it, we sense, with time, what makes our parents comfortable and uncomfortable, and then aim to please. I'm exploring those places in my life nowadays, and it's interesting to see what emotions come up, as they come up strongly and surprisingly, again and again, upon prying into my past.
Let's understand that we are all different selves at different times, it could be that we are just hungry today, or that we haven't found our true self. Empathy is the answer.