It is a general predicament of our times that we are never satisfied. There is a constant need to want better, be better and do better. Now, there is nothing wrong with such a drive. After all, ambition is the fuel of Life. However, in our ambitious pursuits, somewhere, we refuse to accept ourselves.
We see a certain movie star, a role model or even a friend we admire and then try to imitate them. This is all well, but in the process, we lose ourselves. We refuse to stop for a second and ask if that really is who we are. For instance, if I want to be a great fiction writer like J K Rowling, I may try to replicate her way of writing, her comic sense or the general way in which she conducts herself. This isn’t a sound strategy, because, even if I do succeed in this way, it wouldn’t resonate who I am.
You cannot be happy in life until you are yourself. This is a not a new concept. We have a lot of people, in movies and in real life, who achieve greatness but express how they just don’t recognise themselves anymore. It’s no good if you have to give yourself up completely to achieve something.
Each one of us is unique in our own ways. We have our own special way of doing things and dealing with things. Why give that up? I agree it’s intimidating. The world is designed in a way that society expects everyone to be the same. But, this same society also celebrates those who can think out of the box. That’s the thing about society. It’s a bunch of people, who try to align to a set pattern that has been set by no one. It’s a strange concept, really. This idea of trying to ‘fit in’ needs to go away. We need to stop shrouding our greatness and ourselves just because we think ‘the society’ expects something else.
Is it going to be easy? Well, of course not. You will first realise that you just don’t know yourself at all. Take the time to get to know yourself. Talk to yourself, probably date yourself. You will realise so much more about yourself. Accept it all – both the positives and the negatives, both the strengths and the weaknesses.
By no means is this a suggestion that you shouldn’t try to improve yourself. If you believe that something about you needs to be changed, then you can do so. Human nature is not static, it’s dynamic and depends on our own choice. But, you need to know yourself in order to improve on it. Just remember that you need to be clear on your motivations for it.
If you are familiar with the Alcoholics Anonymous Programme, the first and the most important step is the acceptance of the fact that you are an alcoholic. I think that is true for everything in life. You first need to accept yourself for who you are. Only then, you can work to improve yourself. You need to know yourself to be a better self.
So, go ahead. Introspect, meditate and live life more mindfully. Say “Yes, I am, who I am and I will work every day towards becoming a better version of myself.”