James Moss, in one of his hit songs, sings that he keeps thinking about what went wrong and it keeps him up at night all alone but he realizes that underneath all of us we are just the same. Just that line alone in a song is way too strong enough to represent and underline the message that humans seem to have turned a blind eye to today.
If one may have taken the time to intentionally observe human behaviour and their interactions, one thing often stands out. There is no way a conversation goes without one person or the other using the opportunity to make an impression they are better than the other in some type of way. Even when the topic at hand is more general and not necessarily about individual aspects, often there is always a tendency of either party to pretend that they are better or different.
It may appear normal and innocent to do and often others get influenced and fall into the trap of self-absorption. That one gets absorbed up within themselves as if everything is about them, and the world revolves around them. Sometimes it even comes across as if one is in competition with the other so much that the conversation merely becomes a verbal contest than a moment of sharing and embracing the diversity of ideas and experiences.
This mostly manifests itself especially when there is some level of intoxication. It also happens that even those who may have been seen or self-identified as introverts, all the sudden, are extroverts. The upside of this is that one lets down their guard, loosens up and allows themselves to be vulnerable. The downside, on the other hand, is that one becomes expressive, and exposes insecurities that were camouflaged with introversion.
This just goes to show that deeply embedded in the subconscious are great psychological needs. These needs usually manifest themselves as insecurity, attention deficiency and approval-seeking behaviours. Although these needs are common and similar, such manifestation may not be noticed by the one experiencing them. Sometimes, though, such behaviours may be exhibited as well intended, while others may manifest in the form of both public nuisance and morph into self-destructive behaviours.
With all that said, it is evidently clear that human beings are attention beings – it would be impossible to live without attention. But, just like anything else, such attention should be given or taken in moderation. It is prolonged deprivation especially at an early age may lead to its search in adulthood and may then rob one of the possible and potential amazing life experiences.
It is therefore worth mentioning that often any traces of one trying to present themselves as different from others, maybe an expression of some unresolved psychological challenge or need. This is because no matter what one may portray themselves to be external, it does not change the fact that, fundamentally, we are all just the same. A portray of difference, as much as it may even manifest a sign of strength and when seen from another angle, maybe nothing else than a loud cry for help.
So, it requires a certain level of awareness, introspection, and acceptance for anyone to be able to admit this trap. A trap of self-deception into which we often fall because of concepts such as individuality and uniqueness, because as it may be observed these concepts often lead one astray into confusion. It often leads to self-deception and denial of the fundamental fact and truth that no matter how different we may think we are, like J. Moss said, “underneath all of us are just the same.”
By Karlos The Great
OSHIMWENYO is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka.