Me, Myself and I. The Paradox of Individualism in Contempory Western Society.
It’s funny, but sometimes a crisis is what it takes to take a long hard look at ourselves and reflect on what it means to be true to ourselves. Identity and individualism have become blurred. There is an element of corruption to them today. I find myself being a witness to this on a daily basis, not only of others, but in personal challenges myself. This blog, therefore, serves as a personal exploration of identity and individuality today.
Personally, I favour the belief that identity is something that is core to us. It is the unique aspect of who we are, even when all else is stripped away. It’s possible that these are convictions, certain ethics and morals that remain with us even when challenged. Yet in all of this, we are malleable, changeable people. Individualism is something to strive for, yet it is often in the pursuit of individualism that we lose the core of who we are. In a society where everyone must be something, we often strive for false individualism, living under the pretence of another identity. This being a false identity.
I remember the famous quote ‘everyone is born an individual, but most people die a cheap imitation’. It serves as a reminder to be true to oneself above all else. There are so many voices that speak to us, most of them notably very well meaning, but at the very core of it and if it does not resonate well, those voices only disrupt the clarity in seeking out what is uniquely us. There are so many of us living other’s lives. That’s why we must live out what is true to us.
In a society that promotes individualism, the result has been counterproductive. In our personal pursuit of individualism, we have missed the point. Our pursuit has not been contentment or satisfaction, but to excel and achieve in all we do, whether it even makes us happy or not. We need to re-evaluate our motives for doing something, does it really fit into who we are and where we want to be, or is it just a self pursuit to fake identity?
If we are living out a fake identity, how can we encourage those around us to be true to themselves. How can we encourage them to embrace all they uniquely are if we don’t know who we are ourselves. Clarity is needed in the pursuit of true identity. Clarity takes place in that quiet moment, when all those external voices have been banished and we start to explore the very depth of who we actually are. It’s almost like having a stern word with ourselves and seeking contentment above all else. What are the things that make us happy and why do we choose to do something above anything else? It’s an exploration of our motives in achieving individualism. Am I doing this for me or for others? Is this really who I am?
Clarity and Identifying Your True Identity
The key to challenging your fake identity is through clarity. It’s time to sit down and pick apart your life; identify all that makes you happy or content and is necessary to lead you to where you want to be. Then you must identify all that is keeping you from reaching your true potential and reaching contentment in your own personal and unique identity. One of the ways to achieve this is to identify areas of your life you don’t feel at ease with, or the areas of your life you are not actually happy with. Sometimes it takes a deep search within to identify those areas as they have become so ingrained in forming who you are. This is not a get out clause from areas of your life you dislike, there are some parts we cannot escape from, but rather this is identifying hobbies, relationships, careers and studies that are taking us further down the path from reaching our true identity.
In pursuing our true identity, we must challenge our motives for doing something. We must question why we choose the things we do. Is this for us, or does this make me look good in the eyes of others? Who wants me to achieve this, is it myself or is it my parents? By identifying why we do the things we do we can start to remove them from our lives. In doing so, we are on a personal pursuit of reaching true individualism and seeking out our true identity.