How true are we to ourselves?

This is a question that has been plaguing me a lot: do we lead fake lives? How true are we to ourselves? Do we lie a lot? Or do we use a comfortably couched answer that is diplomatic? In giving a diplomatic answer are we moving away from ourselves? Living life, in a way where we are true to not just the others but to ourselves as well is becoming increasingly rare. I try to be as true as I can be to myself but then there are times when I am forced to be the “opposite.” For example, if someone asks you if you like XYZ (it could be anything – a book, a movie, a pair of shoes, or any idea), do you have the courage to say it as it is? To call a spade a spade to borrow a very well-worn cliché? These questions plague me from time to time.

In many ways I am what I am, no one can change that but in many other ways I don’t call a spade a spade. I tell “white lies.” Sometimes, not to hurt people and sometimes not to hurt myself. Does that still redeem me? Everytime we white lie, and to extend that, everytime I make a choice that seems like a white lie, am I leading a fake life? Am I not being to true to myself?

Sometimes, when I say something that is “comfortable”, “non-injurious”, I feel sick inside. I feel detached from myself. As though, my skin and I have separated. And yet this is a price that we pay for being here and now. What I want to know is this: is it okay to live like this? Should I have to make a compromise always? Should I let this nagging feeling be, so that in time I may be completely detached from my skin, and will not “feel” a thing? Are the pressures of living worth giving in to? Or should I be true to myself?

Pls Note: This is one of my many ruminations on the self. They might make sense or may not.

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3 thoughts on “How true are we to ourselves?

  1. I think one must first be true to oneself. It takes an enormous anount of courage to do that. Once you do that it is easy to be true to others. How true you have to be towards others depends on the situation and the relationship you share with others. With my best friends I’m blunt. With acquaintences I am diplomatic. I disagree politely. But the bottomline is this: Be truthful to yourself. You must acknowledge the ‘beast’in you. This will help you deal with it, also it’ll make you more sensitive to others faults too. It will also help you ‘stay in touch’ with yourself. I don’t want to proselytise, but I hope you get the drift.

  2. Thank you Mru: this does make sense. I know what you mean. You should be your true self with your friends and family. The others are not that important. And yes, it takes courage to be yourself in this world.

  3. AFJ,

    I think being phoney to your folks(friends or relatives) matters a lot!

    Imagine this:
    Your friend makes a mistake, say he jumps the traffic signal(something as trivial as this). Now, we take the liberty to abuse him verbally, saying ‘you dont concentrate on road or you dont know how to drive” or something. But, instead of your friend imagine if some stranger had done the same thing, I am sure we wont bother to present ourself and abuse that stranger in the middle of the road.
    Also, if you abuse your friend, you are immune from blows/talk-back. But, if you abuse a stranger, you never know.. how the stranger might consume your verbal-volleys.

    Guess, it is unfair to take advantage of friends.

    Also, the problem with advising or finding fault with others is that ‘one has to be right-enough to do this’. I feel it is impossible for one to be perfect. And, for someone who is perfect and who wishes to show-case his skills, is nothing but cheap coercion.

    Respect is the key, i.e admit the fact that one’s friend is bold enough to make bold decisions whether they are right or wrong! Accept the way one’s friend is rather than stereotyping him the way we want him to be.

Let me know what you think.

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