Thursday, February 22, 2007

Being Yourself

-By Swetha Amit
“Be yourself”; is a common expression by millions to others, in several occasions as a confidence boosting factor.

However this notion is gradually turning alien with the present generation. It ultimately leads to what psychologists call as “identity crisis” at a much later stage. The current youth seem to emphasize the importance of "fitting in" with the “cool” crowd. The craze of being seen at the “right” hangouts with the “right” people has engulfed these not so innocent minds. This “right” fever has spread like wildfire across these freshers. The constant need for a sense of belonging seems to have surpassed even the primary and basic requirements of the youngsters. The new era of obsessed networking has precipitated in robbing them of their vibrant spirit. Wanting to be a part of the supposedly trend setting gang, has lead to false beliefs of only activities such as partying and drinking, being considered as the “in thing”. The twenty something age groups are enticed into such actions either willingly or unwillingly for the fear of being jeered at by their peers. A question that crops up in ones mind is” how far will they go, in the desperation of seeking acceptance among their pals?”

Friendships and acquaintances certainly help in eliminating feelings of isolation, loneliness. It promotes the “feeling good” factor among individuals, in turn enhancing healthy community living. However, the theory of drawing a limit or defining the cost of acquiring something is applicable in this context as well. This is the common problem faced by the youth, who are unable to draw that line or rather define the "cost” of wanting to belong to their respective reference groups. Is it at the cost of rebelling against their parents? Is it at the cost of letting go one’s principles, values and morals? Or is it at the cost of sacrificing ones integrity and individuality? And even if one is prepared to incur these costs, there is no guarantee that relationships formed in this manner will last long.

The above concept is slowly catching up in the adult world as well. These grown ups tend to get entangled into the complexity of group dynamics of several communities. Whether it is clubbing or consuming hard drinks at parties, this older aged segment is no different from the juveniles. Bitten by the bug of peer pressure or fear of growing too old has left them feeling like releasing their teenaged soul seemingly trapped inside an old physique. It apparently leaves them with no choice but to let go of their values at least for that particular moment.

A late realization dawns upon such humans about the loss of their “real” personality by the false prestige of the show culture. . A loss, to the extent of questions like” Who am I?" or statements like "I don't know myself anymore “, often work like under-currents in the turbulent minds of such confused souls, leading to diminishing self esteem and confidence levels. This increasing global phenomenon of retrieving one’s self back is what drives the distressed individuals to therapists, depending on them to restructure their battered persona.

Hence, “being oneself” is of immense importance in order to prevent such miseries of regret and hatred.” Being you” formula is a very simple one which can be followed by not only the youth but also adults who get entwined in such quick sands of life.

It emphasizes in accepting yourself in every way. Be proud of the fact of what you are, regardless of unwarranted mean comments of others. It is about sticking up for your principles, interests, values and integrity. It is also about standing up for yourself in any given situation. It is about focusing on your positive attributes and not dwelling on your negatives. It is about counting your blessings in every aspect. Focusing on your inner strength can avoid the external desperate dependence on others appraisals. Failure of gaining acceptance by certain groups does not embark the dead end of life’s journey. It is not about being carried away by superficiality of any sort. Neither does it involve imitation of any other existing personality. It is about being able to conduct yourself without any qualms and inhibition. Holding your head high and rising above these petty norms will fetch others to follow you and not the other way around. It’s all about loving and respecting yourself as a certain quote says.” Love yourself first and everything else falls into place."

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