“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.” Thomas Szasz
Who is running your life? Is it you, deep from your center? Or is it your family, employer or the mentality of society herding you into the role they want you to play?
The last time I visited the Biltmore Estate and met the Tina Turner Chickens, I also observed a sheep dog herding sheep. I had seen this on the nature channel, but I’d never seen it in person. As the dog herded the sheep together, they were so close they were touching, moving like one being. After herding them to a particular area, he left, but the sheep remained sandwiched together as if they were afraid to each step out into their own areas.
The Dangers of Conformity
I immediately thought of people and conformity. How often do we allow something outside of ourselves to limit our capacity to be who we really are? Conformity isn’t all bad. It’s only negative if it forces us to be someone we are not or causes us to hurt others in order to be accepted. The McCarthy trials of the 1950’s are a good example. Neighbors reported neighbors for being communists and whether it was true or not was irrelevant. People lost their reputations and employment by merely being accused.
Inner Self and Ego
I don’t know exactly what Thomas Szasz intended when he made the statement I quoted today. But I suspect he was referring to the ego/personality level of who we are, for the spiritual level that is deeper is something we find only when we let go of ego and go deeper. It is eternal. We do not have to create it. But we do create the person we are in this lifetime based on the choices we make and the way we think.
Creating Our Personalities Based on Our Eternal Selves
If we are in touch with our eternal being, the choices we make from that place, rather than from external influences, tend to be wiser. In modern dance, the pelvic area of the body is the center of our body and this core must be strong in order for the dancer to perform the off balance tilts, falls and swings that are unique to modern. Without a strong core, the dancer flounders.
If we make choices from that loving center within us that is our core, our choices will have integrity and compassion, and will enhance our lives and the lives of others. That deeper self is the basis of our personality, but making the right choices can lead us to an integration of the two. When we dance from our center, we are One. But if we always allow others to dictate how we think and act, we are being unfaithful to ourselves. We are letting life happen to us rather than creating the life we want.
If we spend our whole lives hiding behind the temporary high of buying things or being entwined with a dysfunctional family’s dictates or constantly searching for a quick fix to happiness, we will never find who we truly are. We will not discover that by following someone else’s lead in the dance of life.
Lead Yourself in the Dance
When you create yourself, you become the dancer and the leader. You look at each opportunity in life and decide if it contributes to who you are or want to be. You find the courage to step away from the flock and follow your own path. You love yourself enough to take charge of your own life. If you have not found yourself yet, perhaps you are not looking deep enough. Perhaps you have betrayed who you are in order to keep peace and have security.
Fear always surfaces when we try to break an existing pattern. It’s then we have to turn to faith. “When you have come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something to stand on or you will be taught to fly.” These words have comforted me more often than I like to admit. Have faith and trust yourself to become who you really are. You are your greatest creation!
What challenges have you faced in becoming who you really are? What helped you take the risk? Please comment.
© 2012 Georganne Spruce
Related Articles: Living Your Unlived Life: Coping with Unrealized Dreams and Fulfilling Your Purpose in the Second Half of Life, Being True to Oneself, Dare to Be Yourself
I just love the comment on faith and am enjoying your blog.
So true and so nicely expressed!