“Defining oneself only in relation to secondary things leaves one’s being as nothing but a series of empty shells each dependent on the others for meaning.
Thus a man is defined as this one’s friend, that one’s son, the father of another, the one occupied with this or that, the one who thinks this or that, someone engaged with certain problems, and all these are only shadow relationships that leave him a faceless, empty figure trying to clothe itself with some visible individuation.
Only when a man can relate his inner center to God as the first and foremost and only reality, only then does his self take on meaning.
It ceases to be a relative entity without any content of its own and becomes itself a significant content.”
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Thirteen Petalled Rose by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz