Do you know?
Do you know yourself?
I know your problem.
Today, teenagers and young adults go through life with three or four different faces and personalities, depending on who they are with. Like chameleons, they skillfully alter themselves in order to adapt to their high pressure environments and the various demands that originate from their bosses, parents, spouses, family and friends. Life has become a masquerade for them, and over time external layers which were initially invented as a coping mechanism, compelling them to have different hearts, minds, soul and even goals in order to accommodate whoever they are with, develop.
Are you the same person with your family, your friends and others? Or do you develop alter egos, meek in front of parents, easygoing amongst friends, rigid with family, charming with your colleagues; and living behind conflicting facades in order to achieve what you think you need: to accommodate everyone, to satisfy everybody, to blend in, or even just to escape you own reality? If you act with a different personality before different groups, and ask these various groups to come together to describe you, will they give a consistent coherent picture of who you are, or will their reports be contradictory?
All these layers of make believe and being phony, will develop habits of living an illusion.In the end, such people disintegrate internally and are in constant inner conflict, because all the various personalities and faces are not reconcilable. Like a lens that is constantly shattered and reglued, each cracked facet, even when joined together, unifies to a very fragile and dysfunctional whole.
How many faces do you have? Are you forced to be different people all in one, revealing or suppressing different aspects of yourself depending on who you are interacting with and who you are trying to impress? Can you really be three or four different persons within one body and soul, and be true to who you are and who you were meant to be?
Are you a lost soul?
With a lost heart?
And a lost mind?
Have you lost time?
Lost lost lost …Busy busy busy…
But you are going nowhere!
What do you hope to achieve when living life as a pretender? Scoring well in examinations? Landing a good job? Making a man or a woman happy? To be popular? Entering into a fantasy relationship where you are living in a dreamland, the never ending story?
Can you be who you truly are if you are constantly pretending to be someone that you are not?
After acting out these multiple roles, diminishing who you really are,obscuring your true goal in life, and causing you a lot of sadness, loneliness and inner misery, what is the next step? What is it that you are so desperately seeking to make you feel fulfilled and happy, and why? Is it love that you are seeking? A physical relationship? Are you searching for a companion, and if so, what kind, and why? Apply the same question to your job, lifestyle, and all the decisions that you make in life in order to seek this fulfillment.
Or, is it inner peace and tranquility that you are secretly yearning for? Are you on the quest of true happiness? Again, you have to ask yourself: what are you searching for, and what is its value to you? If you do not know, the cycle of make-believe and pretense will continue, and you will keep hunting for various safety valves whenever you are on the verge of breaking down under the weight of so many conflicting personalities. It can be a vacation, pretty clothes, jewellery, piece of music, a nice evening out, or a fancy dinner. But when it is over, you are still like a hamster running on a wheel, exhausted, without a real personality, and going nowhere.
"Nobody understands me. I'm looking for someone to understand me."
Do you feel misunderstood, wanting, hoping and wishing for others to understand you? Or do you wish to understand who you truly are, under all these layers that you have created?
Are you free to make your own decisions, think for yourself, and do what is the best for yourself? Do you have a stable and clear vision and set of principles that you are living with?
I have come across wonderful people in my life, with beautiful souls and hearts, who are highly intelligent and well meaning. However, they are living in an illusion, composed of lies and complex make-believe to protect themselves from family battles, social misunderstandings or complicated situations … the reasons are endless. What is the result? They become deceivers to others, play-acting to be who they are not, faking emotions they do not feel; and living life as an imaginary personality to the point that they end up lying to themselves and repressing many aspects of who they really are.
WHERE ARE YOU?
WHO ARE YOU?
ARE YOU THERE?
I have encountered numerous wonderful people who are wearing themselves out, trying to indulge everyone; and searching for or defining their own identities through professional growth and career, or setting out their roles in life relative to the expectation of others rather than what they want for themselves. They lose themselves in the process.
In my younger days, a wise man advised me that it is all right to lose everything but not lose yourself. When you have lost yourself, you have lost everything; even if you own everything else in the world. Conversely, if you gain yourself, it is much better for you, even if you have lost everything else.
There is a very important point to be made here. What would the outcome be if, in your whirlwind of pleasing others, your illusory identity becomes a habit which ultimately diminishes and strangles your own personality? You will become blind and unable to breathe because you have always been doing things at the direction of others but which are not necessarily beneficial to you. You will be fractured and fragile.
If you are sucked into the vortex of other people’s expectations and issues, will you know what to do for yourself? Will you know how to make the correct decisions for your own well being instead of the benefit of others even if it destroys you?
This leads us to a critical juncture: when one wants to cross over from this disguise of half truths and lies, to who he really is. The majority of teens and young adults adopt different camouflages to assimilate with the different styles of life, friends, age groups and cultures. This pushes them to live without a clear set of principles, personality or guidance. They destroy themselves as each phony outer layer, layer by layer, drowns them until there is nothing of them left. What is the value of a person living without a principle, where the person ultimately becomes a doormat, with no identity? How does this end? They become clowns, faceless, in elaborate costumes, but with tears running down their cheeks.
You want it to stop when the conflicting demands get too much to handle. You don't want to talk but you cannot deal with it anymore.
Time to Relax!
Life’s reality is tough, and there will always be problems and demands from others. The truth is heavy, and the challenges are high. Now you are in the fork with two available paths.You can continue falling into this downward spiral, losing yourself every day, or you can make it stop and break out of this cycle.
If you want it to stop and find yourself, then you need to relax. Take a break from everyone, to give yourself the peace of mind and heart, to allow yourself to reflect and break away from your cyclone.
The first stage is to start a journey of self-discovery. Think of it as a journey of snatching, rescuing, saving and guidance. This is a voyage that no one can or will do for you. It is a path that you have to travel by yourself.
The starting point is to free yourself utterly and completely from every attachment that you have formed, and escape from everyone for some “alone time”, with completely different companionship, or even no companion if no one is a suitable companion for your journey of iman.
One of my beloved sisters once kept crying and saying that she wished to relax. But what does relaxation really mean? The word "relax" varies from one person to the next. Some people sleep, listen to music, have a drink. Some people perform yoga or meditate. Some people go for a sauna or jacuzzi. Some people even commit suicide! However, these are not solutions, they are merely tools of escapism.