Halloween is approaching. Regardless of whether or not you “observe” it, the notion of putting on a costume and assuming a different identity has appeal. There is this air of mystique and glamour to it. Why is that the case? Are we not content with who we are? If so, why?
Human beings are dynamic creatures. We are constantly changing. Our cells undergo aging each second. We learn new things and experiment with what we can do differently, do better. It is not inherently a bad thing. Growth itself is a change. When a seed grows into a flower, there has been some major changes. If growth and change have such potential, then why do we resist it in ourselves and prefer to just pretend to be someone we’re not at all?
Consider some of the messages we receive on a daily basis. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2018 study on social media usage in American adults, 68% report being Facebook users, with around three-fourths of those users accessing Facebook daily. While not inherently an issue, there are implications for having access to view the lives of almost countless others on a daily basis. In the past, who you knew was more limited to your geographic conditions. Now is not the case. You can login to Facebook and have a snapshot of the lives of people from throughout the world. That also means increased opportunities to compare your life to those people.
With comparison can come critique, and with critique can come contempt. When we are filled with contempt and discontentment at who we are and what we have, we almost inevitable look to fill the void. Sadly, many choose to put on a façade, that daily costume which allows them to be someone they are not. Denial is a psychological malady, with this case being no different. Coming to terms with your own personal and social identity is a step to good holistic health. Here are some things to consider:
- Evaluate your life with the aid of those who know you best — People offer suffer from bias, even when looking at themselves. Take sound counsel from trusted peers who know you best, whether it be family, spouses, friends, or mentors. Compare a list of what they think of you to what you think of yourself. The differences might surprise you.
- Be honest, even if it hurts — The truth hurts, but it is the only path to freedom. Taking an honest evaluation of yourself and who you want to be may reveal some major character flaws. I’ve found many myself when I applied this to my own life. Keep in mind, this is not a trial. Do not condemn yourself. The purpose is to recognize who you are in the present time. Change what you don’t like seeing.
- Don’t overthink it — I am guilty of overthinking, I know it can be hard not to do. The best way to overcome it is to just observe and record whatever first comes to mind. When thinking about yourself, do the same thing. List the attributes, traits, goals, dreams, etc… which first come into mind. Our subconscious has this funny way of pushing what really matters to us to the forefront when we give it free reign.
Now that those hard parts are over, you must make a decision. Will you grow and change, or keep trying to pretend? One leads to becoming stronger and more beautiful than you thought possible, the other leads to just staying stuck. Make the right choice. In my next post, I am going to talk about how to make successful lifestyle changes. There are a lot of misconceptions and false information out there, so I want to lay out what works. It’s much more simple and manageable than you realize. Until then, take care of yourself and stay safe during however you choose to celebrate Halloween.
“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong. ”
~ N. R. Narayana Murthy