Written by: Neetha Ann Dooy, Batch: 2019-2022, CMS College Kottayam, Kerala
"Everything you need to be great is already inside you. Stop waiting for someone or something to light your fire. You already have a match."
We all look up at others. And look down upon ourselves. How we underestimate ourselves is pure brilliance. We are living in a society that programs us to 'go with the flow'. Our default differences are blocked effectively by sickening social coding.
However, we do find individuals around us who stood up to societal bullying and came out with flying colors. And we get inspired tremendously by their life stories. All well and good but often, we end up wanting to be like them. We have big plans. The next Bezos. The next Ambani. The next Carbon Copy.
This hero worship is another adverse effect of social programming. It's ironic if you think about it. All the successful people, they made it into the top rung only because they broke free of unwritten norms. And when they finally made it, the social fanatics did a wonderful job of placing them on a pedestal. A very wobbly pedestal labeled with dangerous quotes urging us to copy them. "Look, s/he had an amazing life. And just think about the state you are in. What are you waiting for? Be like them and own a life!"
As if life were one ridiculously simple imitation fiasco. Strive to be like others, then our existence won't have a purpose. Meaning. Value. We will only be going around in circles, useless and tired. Similarly, avoid competition with others. Set your bars in relation to others and you are aiming for standards unsuitable for you. Because at best, we can be ourselves. At the worst too, we can only be ourselves.
Most of us do not like revealing our true selves. As if it is a crime. But in hiding away under a veil, we are actually suppressing the potential that can make us stand out. And that is one unforgivable crime. Be oneself, unashamed and unapologetic. Then we will know what pure bliss is. Tranquility. Confidence. You name it.
However, finding out our true selves is no piece of cake. It isn't an unmovable mountain either. It requires patience. Acceptance of the fact that we can never be the ultimate goody two shoes. Drowning in the reality of both our good and our bad. Courage to look at our shortcomings in the eye and to overcome them. Also humility to accept our positives without shying away under fake humbleness.
To be our true selves, we need practice. And as the adage goes, practice makes us perfect. Every time you feel like hiding away your true opinions, just take a moment. Pause. Think about what the use is of shackling yourselves.
You may be snickered at, made fun of for your differing opinions but that feeling of satisfaction which stems from expressing your true opinions is beyond comparison. And one thing to remember is that most of the time, others will respect you for your differing stance. The taunting and laughing are mostly in our heads.
Another important point to consider is that you should start small. Do not think that you can be your true self within one fine day. So if you want to state your opinions as you really feel, make use of the conversations you have with your friends. They may be supportive or condescending, but either way, the advantage is you will get to know whether the company you keep actually deserves you.
The friend circles we keep actually have a huge impact on us. Be close to people whom we feel are genuinely interested in our welfare. Who will make us see our ups and downs alike? Healthy friendships make our path to self-discovery a whole lot easier.
Parallelly, toxic relationships can retard our progress. Make yourself available to people who will accept you as who you are. Don't waste time on people who want you to change according to their whims and fancies. But remember that friendship is a two-way process. If you want people to accept your authentic self, be ready to accept others as who they are. This doesn't mean ditching the good influence you have on people, it simply means that we are ready to accept the fact that others have their own individual freedom. Just like we have for ourselves. Remember that others cherish their freedom just like we cherish our own.
Writing down what makes us unique is another foolproof method to reaffirm our faith in ourselves. Also keeping tabs on our progress hitherto too helps to hammer in us a sense of purpose. The graphs may not be appealing to our sight, but a step down is better than taking no step at all. Though It's a cliche, it's safe to say that experience is almost always our ultimate guru.
Getting started, that's what really matters. Get started and the task is half-done. Get out of your head. Let your authentic thoughts be your actions. And let your actions define your true self.
So what are you waiting for? Bit by bit, start flaunting your true self!