I read a really good post the other day over at emergingfromthedarknight about being real and it got me thinking about self and what it means. It’s a topic every single person knows intimately, if not expertly. Because the self isn’t as obvious a thing as most of us would like to believe. In fact, it can be argued that the longest journey is the one we take to self.
Some are blessed to live with a true sense of self and some struggle to find the path. And then we have those darlings of deceit who believe they’ve got it all figured out without ever really trying. And there are plenty of peeps out there who relegate their ‘self’ to the industry of shallow pursuits, namely vanity. These peeps ain’t evil, just human. Hell, it’s easy to buy in to societal standards that reward pretty faces and fat bank accounts. Who doesn’t love that shit? But if that’s all you aspire to, welp . . at some point you’re gonna find yourself curled up in a corner with a box of chocolates whilst singing that old Peggy Lee classic Is That All There Is?
Imagine yourself as a personal economy- reliant on goods and services in order to function. As far as goods are concerned, you need to strike a balance as per local manufacturing and imported goods. If you order too much takeout, you’re gonna pay the price. The same thing goes for our personal economy: If we template our identities to resemble all the pretty little lies that come standard with status, it’s a recipe for disappointment.
Personally, I’m on the path. While not a status driven individual any longer, I’m apt to fall for the wrong ideas simply because they’re so damned appealing. And then there’s that vanity thing. The ‘Mr. Hyde’ in me would love to look like Tom Brady, have Richard Branson money and be married to Vera Farmiga. Not because I have any blessed idea what these things feel like, but because my perception is that they would be pretty fucking great. Of course that’s not how it works. Wanting to be something or someone without having any firsthand knowledge of it is akin to being a five year old who wants to drive a car. All the enthusiasm in the world won’t get you out of the parking lot . . . and then what?
So . . . this search for self. Where do we find it? Glad you asked, because the obvious answer is in the mirror. But this would be as simplified as my examples of a ‘personal economy’ and five year old driver. The mirror is where we go to get the latest weather, but it ain’t much good at forecasting even five minutes beyond that. The mirror as a metaphorical value is the right answer.
Like I said earlier, self is a journey; in some instances, it’s an arduous one with pitfalls and potholes and dead ends. You can’t buy your true self on Amazon or cull it from a top selling book on stoicism. Nah, the self is truth. It possesses limitless potential, but it can also be an anchor for those who judge everything as a commodity rather than a gift.
The true self encompasses polarities that can either swallow or steel you. It can thieve your best intentions or grant absolution. Finding your true self demands introspection and it requires you to make difficult decisions. It’s a diet regimen for the soul. And as with any diet, discipline and patience are a daily requisite. Be mindful that failure and success are dancing partners. You cannot experience one without the other. So don’t be afraid of the yin, because it is your introduction to the yang.
This is the path, this is the goal and this is the journey.
I’ll leave you with a hopeful little excerpt from Emerging’s post, which I highly recommend. Her blog is a daily enrichment, painted in all the complicated and wonderful colors of this thing called life.
The energy of soul does not disappear when we are not aware of it. It does not disappear when we are pretending to be real. It just waits for us to discover it, to be willing to allow it to breathe through us and enable it to be present.