Being yourself

Today, I read an inspiring article on Hana Mohan.

I have met her only a couple of times (when I knew her as Prateek) and do not know much about her beyond her blog. I read about her decision to embrace her true self last year and my admiration for her went up multifold, especially because that is one area where I had become ambiguous myself.

Being yourself is such an important thing that many only realize late. We chase ambitions that aren’t fully ours, do things that mask our chinks in the armour so that we look ‘good’ in the eyes of ‘others’ and hide behind facades. Once the outwardness in our lives is so firmly established, it gets hard to dismantle it.

As humans, it is natural for us to do that. We are brought up that way too. As appreciation and approval seekers right from school — from teachers, friends, peers, relatives, etc. With social media these days, heck, we even seek approval from people we do not even know!!!

We worry too much about what others think of us. We become prisoners of “others’ opinion of us”. Only to stall our own personal growth.

I am not any different.

It can be emotionally draining.

I did a u-turn and went the other way too. To not give a fuck about anyone’s opinion of me, to shut down all my social activity and just be within myself. That too, I found, isn’t me. I need to be social. I need to do good things in my life, I need acceptance, I need appreciation and respect (from the right people, if I may add). By trying to shun all these, again, I wasn’t being myself.

When swinging between two extremes, I realized that I was doing both wrong. I had to draw an inner-circle of a very small set of people and an outer-circle. The inner-circle mattered to me. The rest, not so. I realised I was mixing them up.

The last few months have been spent in that pursuit. To be myself. It is a long journey for everyone.

Articles such as these help in that journey. It takes courage to take a deep look at our innermost fears and face them. And to come out and tell them. Stories such as these need to be told.

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