Today’s life is very fast paced – every one is handling multiple responsibilities at the same time. There are deadlines everywhere – and these make “Living” literally “avoiding death” (working in deadlines). Working professionals, students, retired civilians, unemployed youth, and even children are continuously subjected to stress everyday. The purpose and meaning of life are now defined by strange looking professional goals, which decide the “worth” of an individual. Why is this happening? Among this rat race to be on top where are you? And where am I? Forget where I am, I don’t even know who I am! Such is the situation in today’s world, and no one cares to think about it. All are blindly doing what they are “supposed” to do – celebrating successes and crying over failures.
Make a list of things you do from the moment you get up in the morning till you go to bed at night. Also write down “for whom” you did that piece of work, and “why” you did it. If you are like me – you will be surprised to see your name hardly appears anywhere in the whole list. But it was supposed to be “your life”! Then where has your name vanished? How come you see names of relatives, employers, friends and businessmen in the list?
When I was an infant, I would laugh when I wanted to and cry when I wanted to.
As I grew older I was taught to be reasonable and responsible, practical and logical. Now I have to cry when I fail courses and laugh when I top them. My happiness is a strong function of my friends, my parents, employers, and every other person I meet. Is that my Identity? Is that what I am? It is just shocking to realize it…
Every day we switch into various “shoes” where our behavior is conditioned to be in a specific way – a student must be tidy, disciplined, punctual etc. and whether or not these qualities define you, if you are a student you are expected to follow suit. Believe me – this is the solemn cause for all major tensions in the world.
The same problem causes innumerable break – ups in today’s couples – it is just the question – Am I “Me” or “her Boyfriend”? And the conflict becomes so strong that there is identity crisis, and the couple breaks apart. They actually love each other, but cannot put up with their differences – how sad! It really hurts and is a traumatic experience…
The crux of the whole thought is we feel stressed because most of the time we “live for others” and it is very artificial to us, but society demands it and we have no way out but to conform to it. But at the same time it is absolutely essential to discover oneself, because it is his/her natural form – which is the most comfortable to live with. And it is essential to assume this form from time to time whether others like it or not. It is very personal, and everyone has a right to claim his or her space in a social setup. Then only it is possible to release the stresses, work better and be happy.
There is no rule written that Love happens between compatible personalities only; in fact it generally happens in opposite personalities… and it is important to respect and accept the identity of one’s partner and let him/her have ample space to release the stress. Doing will make things very easy and happy.
How, then can you discover your identity? There are 2 major parts to it – Reflection and Expression.
For the reflection part - ask yourself more questions about yourself – your likes, dislikes, turn- on’ s etc. It might sound stupid – why would you ask yourself these? After all they are your likes and dislikes, right? But it makes a lot of difference to reinforce them – eat your favorite flavor of ice cream occasionally, read your favorite novel if you feel like. Enjoy it, and be done with it. Make a list of all the things you want to do in life and assert your individuality - "THIS IS WHAT I AM AND I LOVE TO BE ME"... Believe me you will see the world in a completely new perspective and the effect is immediate...
Expression is the tougher and more important part. If mastered it gives you a strong sense of individuality – a uniqueness that you will love to have, to nurture and be proud of. It consists of expressing your thoughts and feelings to others in a polite but assertive fashion. Avoid getting into long debates with people – especially with close friends. If there is a debate there is a difference of opinion – which means there is a clash in identity. Do not budge from your stand, at the same time accept that what he/she feels is right for him/her and you respect that fact. Get rid of sarcasm during conversations with loved ones, it does no good. Besides, find ways to express and enforce your feelings by discussing them with people who understand how you feel. Share your thoughts with such people and reinforce your personality. Other creative ways to express yourself include writing prose (I am doing that right now) or composing music of your taste, or making paintings, taking photographs, videos… the list is endless. But all these are forms of YOUR Expression and will help you discover yourself much better.
What I have written over here is my personal belief, my feelings about the topic. It is not my intention to "preach" any of this - it just reinforces my thoughts about how to establish my identity. It may be inappropriate in some ways to you, but then if it just triggers a thought about who you think you are - then i have done my part of it :)
So, I have found my way of expression – have you found yours? If not get going on this wonderful journey to answer the question “WHO AM I”?
I AM NOT WHO YOU THINK I AM; I AM WHAT I THINK I AM.
P.S: Listen to “The Logical Song” by Supertramp. Quite similar in meaning ☺