We live in a world where people constantly endeavour to make us what we are by designing our personalities according to their needs and whims. They throw out suggestions and smartly poison our intellect to sculpt a different us. DO WE WANT THIS? — To quest and establish our identity is our greatest accomplishment and should be the motto in life.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind do not matter, and those who matter do not mind.”
I was born with an identity tag — son of Mr. and Mrs. so and so. I carried a surname, a family lineage, and a place in the astrological solar system established by a Pandit Jee.
Another social identity was slapped upon me by my passport, driving licence, Adhar card, PAN card, voting card, etc. – I carry FIVE plastic cards to establish myself with a pathetic, on-the-spot taken picture – hey, look, I am Dr Anuj Kumar.
Some institutions and banks identify me by my signatures, thumb impressions and I-cards – is that all I stand for in this world and be identified amongst the billions of Homosapiens?
OK! I am established – fine! But, Is that enough? And have I made the effort to identify myself? After all, WHO AM I?
The world identifies me as a doctor and grades me as good and bad. But have I ever pondered and identified myself as a healer? That identity has to come from within me, with a will and an urge to war with myself. I can only sense and treat the patient’s pain when I feel inside a true healer.
Love takes a person to a different level. In true love, the lovers amalgamate into each other, losing their identity and merging to become a single identity. They become soulmates.
The problem starts when we start looking, believing and thriving in an identity in the social jungle of human existence. Through false adulation or farce criticism, we change and calculate our reflections in the mirror. How can a cluster of people decide our existence when they struggle to comprehend their own identity? Nothing left of me is original—I gave myself the platform created by the combined efforts of everyone I have ever known.
My spouse decides my attire; my teenage son controls my speech and pronunciation; my domestic help tells me what to eat, and my friends analyse and criticise my behaviour and personality – WHERE AM I?
An incredibly unseen force, like invisible gravity, controls our lives. This force is partly our identity, heritage, and upbringing but profoundly the choices we make in life. It is also fragile, discovered only in the moments of truth.
IDENTITY CRISES ensue when there is turmoil between personal experiences, beliefs and characteristics and a failure to distinguish one person from another. There is a gross mismatch between internal reflection and external interaction. It is a period of inner conflict and uncertainty about one’s self and societal role.
An identity crisis is not essentially evil. It provides a brilliant opportunity to redefine and reinvent yourself. You start respecting your inner self and appreciating your place by shunning places you do not belong. Just be yourself – do not let the world define you; the crisis will eventually pass off as rejuvenating you – according to your beliefs.
Navigating an identity crisis involves introspection and eventual adaptation to find a stable and authentic sense of SELF.
An identity crisis is confronted during the break-up of a relationship. Feelings of nihilism and emptiness lead to depression and suicidal tendencies. It may take a while for the dust to settle. But in the end, in most cases, the sufferer emerges as a winner, earning a better deal in the future. Meditating to seek happiness inside leads to identity resurrection and emotional revival.
‘Our true identity is found when we stop being who we are – and start becoming who we are created to be.’
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE rightly quoted – “We know what we are but know not what we may be.”