What makes our identity?
All through our lives, we are constantly looking for ways to give meaning to it. What we want out of our life is something that people will remember – our accomplishments, our victories, our glories, our charities, our deeds of nobility and our character – all of us feel the need to be recognized, to be respected, and to be praised.
But how far can we be driven by the fuel of praise and admiration that others give to us. What happens when the fame is gone, what happens when someday we lose our identity? Then what, what is it that will drive us forward? And I have found two things that will come to your rescue.
What is that you respect yourself for?
The first is the need to learn to respect yourself. And not the respect of ordinary kind. I will recall my past for this. Past few years, with the blessings of the almighty several good things have happened to me – getting a job in a well known company, winning several events, opportunities to travel, meeting and learning from various people, accomplishments at office, succeeding in every exam I have given, exponential growth for our NGO Sankalp. Now while people respect me for my success, do I respect myself because of the successes that I had?
Well no, I do not respect myself for the successes I had, rather for the pain and discipline that made the success a possibility.Now this is a very simple idea, but simple things are difficult to follow. We get so carried away by our success that when failure hits us, we are left devastated, everything comes down crashing, and we feel ourselves to be useless and incapable.
This I feel is not how we should see ourselves. We ought to respect ourselves for our capacity to endure the pain and discipline that helped us finish the race.
- Respect yourself not because you won or you lost, respect yourself because you endured, because you ran on thorns when most others refused to walk.
- Respect yourself because when a roadblock hit you you hit back harder
- Respect yourself because when others rested under the shade you sweated it out in the sun.
Enduring pain and discipline is all that matters, success and failure eventually wither away.
Who is your best companion?
The other important idea is how we see ourselves in relation to other people and is based a lot on the first idea. Many a times, we feel the need to get cut off from the world, to go into our own world – why? Because this world can be sickening with its hate, contempt, anger, and greed. It becomes unbearable. But that is not the whole story.
What we need to learn is not to live without others, but to live with oneself.I stress the importance of this because while many of us want to be cut off from the world, yet few actually dare to do so. Because loneliness is frightening. We are afraid to speak to ourselves, to find our true character. So most of us seek shelter in the world outside us. But how long can we escape this way. Someday we need to give answer to ourselves.
You can learn many things from yourself, just give it a try. Learn your strengths, your weaknesses, your fears. Listen to your heart and to your head – they will tell you wonderful things. I am always learning more about myself and it is incredible to feel that way. You come to accept your weaknesses and be happy of your capabilities. It has another powerful effect of galvanizing you toward working on your weaknesses. And when you look around, you will find wonderful things in this world as well – that morning sunshine, that smile of a child, that gentle caressing of your lover, that sound of a bird, that kindness by a stranger, that increment in salary, that lazy Sunday afternoon, that cold night by the fireplace, that laughter with friends, that wedding shot – the world is not so bad place after all.
This life is beautiful. So many things to learn, live and love. Be proud of yourself. And smile. It is infectious.
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