4 Fundamentals you forget about How to be YourselfThe life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another. —James Matthew Barrie Click To Tweet Last month, my friend bought a new car, I was very happy on his success, but at the back of my mind their was disappointment— disappointment of ambitions, disappointment of weaknesses, disappointment of failures.
As the day passed, I was lost in the memories of past. One after another, I reviewed achievements of friends, relatives, even neighbors. I was surrounded by questions I wanted to avoid, strolling on the path of comparison and self-criticism, lost in success stories, I was finding a way that leads to myself.
The path to be yourself is difficult
We live in an imperfect world, where people die of hunger, where men kill men for money, where men laugh on men’s miseries, but we expect ourselves to be perfect. We forget that If we have strengths, we have thousand weaknesses to prove our imperfection and it is true, whether we are American, Australian, British, or Indian.
At some level we know this fact, but when we observe the world, or rather when we compare ourselves to it, we forget, forget about human imperfection. We observe our friends, relatives, neighbors, and find us standing nowhere.
It is the weirdness of our mind, which only compares others’ strengths with our weaknesses, taking our strengths for granted, belittling us saying that we are not unique, that causes this frustration and demotivation. We try to keep a positive self outlook, but constant comparison tarnishes our self-image and induces self-loath.
We resort to books and personal development workshops for help, where we hear the same advice: Yes, you can do it, keep a positive mindset, never give up, and one day you will see the improvement you want. It only demands your determination and effort.
We embark our mission impossible and fail miserably. Obviously, being good at everything is impossible, our basic conviction was wrong. But internal critic blames ourselves for failing before comfort, laziness and procrastination.
Positive thinking empowers us to fight against challenges, stay motivated in difficult situations and be persistent on grim days. But it is dangerous, when we use it as a tool to attain perfectionism—the enemy of happiness. God has created us to be good at few things, average in many and perfect at none; but when we strive for perfection in all thing possible, we are basically fighting against God, this way we create pain and pity for ourselves.
We should rather come in terms with our limited capabilities and focus on our strengths—acting like oneself. Only than we can live a life of fulfilment, the life that we are born for, a life that we all aspire to live but only dream.
To be yourself, the man hidden in social ambush, you have to be content with your achievements and resources. Happiness does not come with buy more, spend more mentality that the commercial world advertises day and night; it comes when you enjoy your limited resources, value your relationships, help man in need, and live a life custom tailored for yourself.
For all it to be true, you need to stop running behind world temptations, abandon the habit of comparison, listen to the inner voice—your voice—you often ignore.
What stops you from being yourself
One word answer: Society. Finding oneself is difficult, we are entrapped in a social decoy, where we hardly notice that the life we live is not our life—It is the social conditioning designed to control us, the conditioning which starts long before we can understand the difference between a pen and pencil. Our family, friends, relatives, everyone contribute to this conditioning, teaching us to live for pleasing others, fulfilling their expectations, being content with the same solution of money, fame and power to all life problems.
In this long journey of social conditioning, we are given various labels to live by like intelligent, duffer, sharp, dull, lazy, hard working, jolly, serious and thousand more.These labels are designed limiting us to a handful of personality traits, sothat the world has no problem ascertaining our character, dealing with us. And people expect us to be consistent with them.#lifestyle :Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people-Marztina Navratilova Click To Tweet
But as child, we wholeheartedly ignore them. We are away from this destructive journey of pleasing others; we live each moment in present and hence life becomes a present for us. We are brave to make mustache with lipsticks and dance in front of others, because we don’t care what people think of us, or what attribute they entitle us. We are busy living our life, doing what we like, being oneself.
But with time, we learn to accept and live by labels, we assimilate them in our behavior. We either act as Jerk or geek, smart or duffer, introvert or extrovert based on what label society attributes to us. We start Believing that we are the sum of a number of personality traits attributed to us.
Although deep inside, we understand the fallacy. Our behavior varies with situations we face—sometimes introvert, sometimes extrovert, sometimes serious, sometimes carefree.
But we become so tuned to social conditioning that when our inner voice tells us to act differently, we ignore it, abide by our labels, save our social image. We become a patient of what-others-will-think-of-me syndrome, afraid of acting on our own.
As parents we contribute to social conditioning by training our children, who don’t bother comparing themselves with other. How they lag behind in studies being careless all the day, where their friends achieve good grades being disciplined. We teach our children how to stop being oneself and live by societal norms.
Only when we confront an adversity, when life seems fruitless, when nothings seems to turn in our favor, we search ourselves, listen to our inner voice—the real voice—to live a meaningful life. Only in difficulty, we google purpose of life and its meaning.
At this time, although partly, we hesitate to follow social norms, hesitate to abide by our labels. We listen, we talk, we accept and we act on our inner voice. When we free ourselves from biased social journey, we meet ourselves, the true self, the oneself.
How to be yourself
You succeed in life, when you be yourself, because then you free yourself from the constant pressure of winning the race, you do what you like, you enjoy whatever little life has to offer. This freedom is precious, because you get what you truly want—happiness, happiness of spending time with friends and family, happiness of ambling on a lonely street, happiness of playing your Playstation on a Sunday afternoon. They are all little happiness that constitute a fulfilling life, happiness that comes when you be yourself.
Here are some tips, telling you how to be yourself.
1. Listen to your intuition:
Intuition is the voice of our soul. It is there to guide us in this confusing jangal of indecision, choosing the right path, but we ignore it on logical or fallacious grounds. Because we hesitate to trust it, it weakens over time, stops interfering in our decision making, and we lose a valuable assistant with constant ignorance.
I don’t advocate taking decisions merely by Intuition, that would be disastrous too, but at least listen to it, give it chance to let you connect with yourself.
2. Stop comparison and self criticism:
When God created us, he gave us strengths, he also gave us weaknesses to balance our life. God endowed us unique character traits sothat each man is different from others in some way, and he gave us mind to think, to analyze , to compare. God invented comparison to make us happy, when we look down, we be happy with our affluence. But he was mistaken.
Comparison proved a creation gone wrong. We misused comparison in ways God had never imagined. We compare to belittle our achievements, to highlight our weaknesses, to kill our happiness. One form of comparison is, however, helpful— self-comparison, self-comparison of our efforts, of our abilities, of our progress, rest is a danger zone to walk.
The byproduct of comparison is Self-criticism. When we compare ourselves with others, we invoke our internal critic, who has one aim—prove us fraud. Whenever we commit a mistake, internal critic tries to convince us that we are a loser, good for nothing. Based on one weakness, it nullifies all our strengths, which is wrong.
Life is a balance, balance of good and bad, balance of happiness and sorrow, balance of strengths and weaknesses. But, if we pay excessive attention to self criticism, listen to our internal critic too long, we will lose faith in ourselves, get distant from us. Thus, self-criticism reminds me of alcohol—good in moderation, dangerous in excess, once become addicted, difficult to abandon.
Remember, we become ourselves not by rebuking us on weaknesses, but by accepting them, by loving us for the wonderful person we are, despite all our weaknesses. The path to oneself passes through the city of love, not by the graveyard of hatred.
3. Practice mindfulness:
In the hassle of life, [sociallocker]we are always eager to reach to a destination. Around the day, we stride from one destination to another, forgetting to live countless moment in the hope of enjoying some moments, some days. We spend countless hours thinking about past or future, ignoring our present. From one achievement to next, today and tomorrow, we search in life—peace, harmony and happiness.[/sociallocker]
We search happiness in destination, but it lies not in the destination, but in the journey, the journey of living in present, the journey of enjoying each moment of life. We get irritated at traffic signal because the light turns red, we get irritated in office because we want to go home, we get irritated at home because we worry about office work. In each case, we sacrifice our present for a destination, when we get there, we decide another, than another, another. We classify time as important and unimportant, aspiring to enjoy important moment and treating unimportant like garbage.
But each hour is equal, no moment is better than the other; it is a fallacy to treat them as important and unimportant. If you want to be yourself, be in present. Your true self is not a ghost who can travel in past or future, he stays here in present. Be in present, and be acquaint with yourself. This ability to live in present is called mindfulness.
When we Practice mindfulness, we bring in life harmony and peace. We need not wait for so called special moments, we enjoy each moment with ourselves.
I agree, it is difficult to be in present; the mistakes of past and worries of future are tempting to distract us from present. But, who said you have to be perfect? Get distracted when temptation is high, just be aware to live in present. Be forgetful practicing mindfulness, but practice it when you remember. Just be yourself, be happy.
4. Find your passion and live it:
We represent ourselves with our passion. For many, passion is their hobby; For a few, it is their life, whom we know as celebrities and experts. Although all are not fortune to turn their passion into profession, yet we all can make our passion an Integral part of our life. But we don’t.
In our busy schedule, we forget to take some time for ourselves, forget to give ourselves the liberty to explore our inner world. Is it really so difficult? Not really.
If not daily, you can take some time weekly to explore your passion, explore the world you abandoned years ago. You deserve your time to live your life, to express yourself, to be yourself. Spend some time on your passion, and you will get the strength to find the way to be yourself.
You must have control of the authorship of your own destiny. The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.
—Irene C. Kassorla