The day I accepted myself. And you should do it too!
Insincere kids in school always used to annoy me. I hated them and saw them in disguise. I have always been very sincere to my elders and seniors whether be it be in a formal or informal sense. I had always followed their verdict till the last word and never questioned their authority. Although it was during last year of high school that I called the bluff of seniors being seniors because they were wise and know everything, when I found out that nearly everyone had been fooling me with sugary words and appreciation just to force goodness of my heart and get their ways right.
I became a studious and sincere kid very early in life. I used to be a very naughty kid and a troublemaker. All thanks to my mother for taming my naughty behavior. She unknowingly controlled my behavior with reward-punishment technique. For every command I followed she used to reward me with her love and gifts. And for every wrong deed I was grounded and awarded with silent therapy. No one want to face punishment! Punishment sucks, but for me it was hell. I hated to be on the wrong side. Hence I became increasingly sincere.
Sincerity as an obsession followed me till the 2nd year of college when I finally saw and felt that I’ve been burning myself internally to please others. I believed that key to happiness was by pleasing others and if possible every one. So I decided that I just have to do one simple task, respect my people’s wishes. Be it my parents, teachers, professors, seniors or mates. If they were in my life, I’ll follow their commands and wishes and please them. They’ll in turn make me happy by appreciating me and giving me gifts. It was a very simple calculation for happiness, I make them happy and they make me happy in return.
But in 2nd year of my college, I realized that I was super successful in this task but it came at the cost of internally burning myself. I was losing my true self and was getting incredibly devious. One day after coming home from a college house party I found myself incredibly tired. It was mentally very tiring to have small talk and pretend to having fun. I also knew that these parties and gatherings sucked because I was mostly alone and had nothing much to do. So I asked myself why do I do things which aren’t enjoyable yet alone painstakingly miserable for me? Why do I put myself in position to please everyone else but me?
As I carefully examined, I did not liked what I was doing but some how I had convinced myself to please every one no matter what the circumstances. I had become poser and pretender of false emotions. I was cursing myself everyday for who I was. I realized my true self was locked in a jail and I knew I needed to escape it before it was too late and I had become pretender for the rest of my life.
So, I changed one thing. I accepted my broken self. Beginning in 4th semester in college I told myself that from now on I’ll be true to myself and only do things which I liked doing. If it takes, I’ll get more selfish and do stuff that I desire to. I’ll respect other’s wishes but if those things hurt me I’ll respectfully deny and move on.
This simple change in my character led to surprising changes in my social life. I was astonished to see the true nature of hollow relationships I’ve made around me. I was baffled to know how many bad choices I made just to please others. I had settled down for so less in life! Friends who don’t respect me for who I am, seniors who bully me for being sensitive and innocent, professors who treat me like poor and good-for-nothing student. I knew I wasn’t the guy whom I was projecting to the world.
So the next thing I did was to stop talking too much and stop pretending to be an extrovert. I knew very well I was an introvert to begin. And as I changed this habit of mine, many batch mates became indifferent to me. They then must have felt that they were talking to a different individual but by seeing their behavior change around me I knew it wasn’t me, it was them. They too had been wearing a mask and were afraid to tell it to my face.
Secondly I changed what I used to do in my free time. The hangouts I used to have with my so called friends was now with my computer learning to code. I love coding and I knew that from middle school. If it were not to please my father I would have taken computer science and engineering in my bachelors but I took Civil Engineering to make him happy for bad JEE score. This was the price I had to pay for being extra sincere.
I started enjoying time in solitude. This time when I was alone in library with my laptop and a cup of coffee crunching keys and developing marvellous JAMStack website, I realized how much fun I was! I hadn’t knew that learning and writing could be so much fun! I didn’t needed company of people to make me happy, in fact I realized I was actually brought down by the same company of people.
Third and most powerful change I did was to start saying NO. Earlier It was easier to convince me because I didn’t respected myself. So I started saying no to things I never intend to do. And as I started rejecting, I now began making enemies. People began hating me. Even my parents didn’t liked me denying when they already knew that I was an adult and can take my own decisions. One professor took revenge on me by deliberately failing me, it was because I missed most of his classes and used to walk out of class in his presence. In short, as I began following my heart, I got into cross-hair of many.
But It became incredibly lonely by last year of the college. And in all that time I made just one true friend and we still talk.
Struggle to achieve self
One of my English teacher in school said that “When you are beginning new things and bringing radical changes in your life you will always face struggle at first. They will first reject you then fight you and then will finally accept you.” The struggle will be both internal and external. You will get anxious in the first phase of transformation as your mind militates against you. Because for most of your life you have been accustomed to the ways of world and truly never gave your heart and intuition a chance.
But what worse is that people who initially supported and loved you will also go against you. When you do something that people doesn’t understand, you will be faced with protest and resistance. They will find every other way to suppress you and make you give up your desires. They will make you look fool that you might even think of giving up.
I know it hurts when the closest in our life are the ones against us. So when I began inculcating these change in life, I lost many friends and mates whom I thought before to be my supporters. I’ve been a bad judge of characters. Although these bad relationships have taught me a really great lesson which is: True supporters are hard to get.
As I distanced myself from others, I was immediately termed anti social. Although I didn’t cared much of what people thought of me because I was happy, but going college and walking alone sometimes sucked! It is one thing to stay alone but other to be lonely. Initially I thought maybe I was special for accepting myself and there was no one like me and that’s why I was alone. But later on I found that there are so many of us who are deceiving themselves. We all are lying to ourselves in many ways just to please others. Although now I have become deviant and finally accepted my true self.
Once my father told me “You are scared of yourself!”, I immediately thought that he was being too deep and emotional and had no idea what he meant by that. Now I realize it was true. We all are scared of ourselves because we don’t want to be alone and left out. That’s why we do things to please each others so that we aren’t left out. We are bonded by the people around us who are unknowingly preventing us from discovering our true self.