You’ve probably heard this many times before – so many gurus, spiritualists, and others tell you that it’s important to know yourself. Unfortunately, they often deceive people by not letting them actually get to know and understand themselves, instead leading them to accept the guru’s version of themselves. It might not seem as much, but the thing is – you should be your own version of yourself, not someone else’s version of what they think you should be. It doesn’t matter if their intentions are good, and most of the time they are, the important things is that it’s not who you truly are. You might say that it doesn’t matter either because there is a universal version of what a good and happy person should be like. Let me tell you the truth – it’s not universal, it’s individual.
We are all different from one another. There are no two people who perceive the world in exactly the same way and whose personalities are exactly the same. Yes, two people may have very similar personalities and world-views, yet there will still be some things on which they will not agree. Granted, you don’t find these kinds of people you can agree on almost everything too often. Some people never find a person like that. Does that tell you that we are all the same or that we are not?
A small digression before we continue. We as humans have the same emotions. In that, there is no difference between us. People in a different culture who might look and behave differently, have the same problems as you do. They laugh the same and the suffer the same. The difference is in how each one of us perceives the world. The difference lies in the perception of good and bad by each individual. Our thoughts are not the same, our fears and hopes are not the same. Our emotions are the same but our minds are not.
That being said, one should understand that what them happy doesn’t make everyone happy. Generally speaking, people do understand this concept, but in a different way – because what makes me happy doesn’t have to make you happy, I’ll negate myself in order to make someone else’s life more enjoyable. While this is a noble and selfless act and for that is admirable, what it ultimately leads to is the negation of Self. You are no longer sure who you are and what makes you happy. It’s not only about happiness but about being yourself, being at peace with yourself. The only way to be at peace with yourself is to understand and accept yourself completely. No guru or spiritual/religious figure can help you with that. Why? Because they are not you. You are You. And, while it sounds harsh, you are the only one who can help you.
What happens if you don’t want to get yourself better? You’ll continue to live by someone else’s rules- those of your society, culture, family, etc. You’ll strive for the things that you were told will make you happy, regardless of whether that will really help you not. The less you are yourself, the more unsatisfied and bitter you’ll become. Do you really think that all those bickering people are actually satisfied with themselves? Do you think that people flaunting what they have on social media or in real life are really happy with their own lives? If they are, would they have the need to prove to the world (and more importantly to themselves) that they are happy? Think about this – when you are truly happy about something, do you go around and brag about it? No, you don’t. Sure, you may share it with your family and close friends because you want to share your happiness. But you won’t brag.
When you are truly at peace with yourself, there is no need to brag or prove yourself. You’ll be who you are and behave accordingly without the need to show it to others. One may think that happiness can be found in external things, such as money, property, etc, while others may tell you that in order to be happy you must force yourself to be content in any situation. Wrong! We are humans and as humans, we feel a whole specter of emotions and that is all right. To be at peace with yourself doesn’t mean feeling only positive emotions such as happiness and joy and running away from the negative ones. Being at peace with yourself includes feeling all the emotions and not squashing them and pretending they don’t exist. We are composed of all the emotions, not just part of them. And those emotions are tied to how we perceive ourselves and the world. That is why it is important to get to know yourself and accept yourself with all the positive and negative sides to you. Being a better version of yourself doesn’t mean being a smiling robot. It means connecting first with your inner Self, exploring it, and then accepting it fully.
Denying yourself the experience of You only leads to frustration no matter how hard you try to cover it.