Les Brown, one of the world-renowned motivational speakers once lamented that the richest place in the world is the graveyard. Because there lies great ideas, dreams, inventions, and realizations that never came to pass. There is no doubt that the same can be said about whether we do truly walk this earth in the realm of our authenticity or we have lost it and live the rest of our lives trying to find ourselves.
This is evident from our early days in school. How many times had our teacher asked questions, but we were afraid to raise our hands because we were afraid of being wrong? And then we feel bad later after someone else answered and were rewarded for it – and we sit there beating our self-up for not speaking up and hence losing out on the reward.
And that is how it continues to be that even later in our lives it has become our second nature not to express ourselves authentically. “But what happened and why is it like that?” You may ask. And the answer is very clear right there in front of us if we take the time to look within and investigate.
Is it because of the roles we are expected to play that we are more inclined to identify with our roles than our natural identity? That, for example, a person who has a certain role to play at a job may tend to identify himself in that light even in circumstances that do not relate to his job. In other words, since we do not know who we naturally are, we seek and hide behind symbols to attach ourselves to a resemblance of our identity.
Since we were children our authenticity has been suppressed. Firstly, it is by norms we have found that society accepted as the way everyone should conduct themselves. Secondly, it is also through religion and the school system so much that before we even had a chance to express our true selves we were already conditioned to live and behave in a certain way, and often expressing ourselves authentically got us into trouble.
So, what are we to become when being our true selves, and expressing our authenticity gets us in trouble? Eventually, we do our best to stay in line and fit in so that we can stay out of trouble. As we go, we get to learn that staying in line and conforming can be greatly rewarded. So, amid all these, we lose ourselves. We lose who we were truly meant to be and this may also mean robbing the world of the gifts we were meant to present and bless it with.
Subsequently, we take on the pseudo-self – the new identity that we have come to create for ourselves that fits in well with the norms and the unwritten script we have found and became subjected to. We find that our lives and our perceptions have been formed long before we were even conceived. So sad that even the choices presented to us as having the freedom to choose from were already chosen for us even long before the generation that came before us.
And all that we have inherited is a package of the ills that continue to haunt us, and this may continue to the next generation if we do not bring this to a halt. We forgot how to be and got caught up in the trap of always trying to become something or someone else. And this leaves us with a question that shall linger right in front of us: Are we human beings or human becoming??
• Oshimwenyo is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka.
2020-06-12 11:35:24 | 24 days ago