I don’t want to advise. I wrote that in my previous post. The depth of my own ignorance astounded me. When you realise there’s hardly anything in your life that you control, that after all the knowledge gathering, thinking & experience, you’d be a bit better, but to then realize you are still clueless about how to live one day without feeling empty & broken, is just disappointing beyond measure.
I recently went through a couple of journal entries that I wrote 4 years back. The issues that plagued me then, are the same that plague me today. Funny, I’m where I was 4 years ago. This just adds to the disappointing aspects of life.
But, you still need to wade through. Live through, till the end comes calling, right? But, how?
With self-confidence in shatters & anxiety looming large, how to go about your day as if nothing happened. When the only identity you had was formed not from inside, but from external validation, which crumbled when the opinion swayed, how do you go about the day? When you’ve realized how sensitive you are, how easy it is to influence your emotions, how do you go about?
Add to that, that you have to cover up all this mess, brush it all up under the rug, before you head out into the world everyday. With a smile on your face, faking professionalism, we got about the day, carefully not letting anyone see the chinks in us. Stressing out to keep the facade up. And, feeling empty when people value our outer shell, the act we put up, knowing if they knew the real us, we’d not be valued. That, people will find out how ‘common’ we are.
On top of that, spending a lot of time caring about others opinions – either to impress somebody or to save ourselves from being perceived improperly – we think, think and think. All of this is absolutely necessary for self-preservation or advancement. But, doing this in and out, drowns our own opinions. After a while its only their opinions in our mind, it is only impressing them that matters, because we believe, the crowd knows better, the mob knows what is better to us than our own selves. And, impressing others has bettered our lives and also because that’s the only thing we’ve been doing for a long time. So, we look to others to tell us if we are living a ‘correct’ life, and it is they who determine if we’re successful.
To realise otherwise, to disentangle our own opinions from that of the crowd takes time and effort. It needs silence. It needs a distance from the crowds. Then, it needs self introspection. It needs us to stop judging others, not having opinions about others, and minding our own business. It requires us to remain silent. It requires us to have our head down.
Yes, we messed up, we didn’t know what was right (we still don’t). It requires humility to accept our own fallibility. It requires us to side step our ego. It requires self-care. It requires us to forgive our selves for being wrong, for the hubris to think we know what is right. Then, slowly, we start finding ourselves.
This is where I’m in. Trying to live each day with my head down. But, I still stumble. Old habits die-hard. I still value others opinions, I still let them dictate my self-worth, I still find myself compulsively advising even when not asked (‘cause I know what is better right?), I still judge a lot, I still spin events into a story to further the identity I’m forging or strengthen the beliefs I want to believe. But, I also catch myself doing these and gently veer away from them. Progress has been slow, but I try. I try with my head down to get through the day.