One of my friends said, “At last, you are living your own true self.” That set off a chain of thoughts in my mind. What does it really mean to live or be your true self? Who knows your self better—you or people who surround you? Do we always live our true self? I reckon, the answers to these questions are deeply linked to the concept of identity. I am who I think I am and also am the sum total of my beliefs, my worldview, my likes and dislikes. It’s about labels that society gives an individual—about norms and deviants. It’s about whether I choose to fit the norm or stay deviant, and the degree to which I choose to apply these to my life.
Who am I?
I am a person. I like to believe only that matters. However, the world we live in operates on the basis of labels. Should it matter? In an ideal world, nothing matters—all adjectives that talk of differences like race, ethnicity, religion, gender are meaningless because only one word matters—humanity. But we do not live in an ideal world. And therefore, we are surrounded by label like the hip and happening, the worldly wise, the naïve, the rich, the poor, superior and inferior…Has anything changed? Humans, in the times of crises, have risen beyond labels to stand united as one. But after the crisis passes, the labels surface again…maybe it’s in the nature of things to be this way. But I digress.
Coming back to the question of being your own true self, I think it starts from identifying and knowing yourself. What do you like? What do you enjoy doing? Has that been submerged somewhere along the way as you face life’s journey? Have you compromised on your beliefs to make others happy, and did that satisfy you? As life itself is the journey to seek your self, did you find it unnerving? Did you face your fears as you embraced your likes? What did you choose? When you chose what it did, did you unintentionally or intentionally hurt others? What did you do after that—made amends or let things be? Did you ask yourself all the uncomfortable questions that point that you weren’t human all the time? What is more important—to fight for your beliefs that would hurt others or to concede because you care more for them than your beliefs?
About me…I know I have shades of gray in my personality. My journey is in trying to identify with the light, after facing my fears. I live for myself, but I also live for my family, my near and dear ones. I know all of us have our demons to face, we all are different. And I respect those differences and try and understand where the other person comes from. Empathy or sympathy doesn’t come easy to me, but I recognize that fact, and try to overcome it. I listen. And I try to understand. I wouldn’t hurt others because I don’t like being hurt myself. I wouldn’t pinch the chubby cheeks of a child because I remember, as a child, I used to hate it so. That’s not about empathy to me, but that’s about respect. I respect the fact that a child is a human like me. My true self is all that I want to be and all that I can be; all I feel and all I enact; all my potential and all that shows at present; it is what I choose to show and what I choose to let remain…
Only I know what it means to be or to live my true self.