We are what we hate. We are what breaks us. We are what we hide from the world. That, as I understand it, is what most of us call “the shadow,” that is those areas of personality that we have banished into the basement of the Bermuda triangles of our hearts. These are the parts that do not belong with the person that we are bound to believe we are.
I have been spending a lot of time with this thought lately. I have figured that I am just not scared anymore. That is what I think it is. Or at least I am not as scared of all the behaviors and emotions that I have shoved into the deepest cellars of my psyche. If not even that then I can at least look at the concept without shuddering too much.
Moment of truth. I am what I hate. What I fear most. And so, in a way I am what I hide from the world.
Now that I am at it, what is it that I hate and fear? Prejudice, chauvinism, discrimination, arrogance, misused power and privilege, meanness, conceit. The list goes on and on never endingly. And if I take this theory of mine seriously, then in all those characteristics, there is a little of me.
Now that doesn’t please me too much.
None of us want to think that we have something in common with what we detest. That being said, dig around a little and you will find that Walt Kelly’s famous line from the Pogo cartoon is right. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
It is not fun but the least we can do is open the cellar door sometimes and recognize that there are certain things hiding down there. I am not asking you to look at those things and crib or curse yourselves for them but just to acknowledge that there will always be certain flaws within us.
Sometimes these flaws are a wonderful antidote to delusions of goodness or selflessness. They teach us that we cannot always be right. Moreover sometimes, along with the selfishness or the anger that isn’t acceptable to show, or the envy that we so carefully sugar-coat, and the hopeless feelings that no one wants to hear us cry about; that along with all the secret fears, dark urges and feelings that we have shoved into a coffin and buried inside us, we bury also our courage, our confidence, and our natural instinct to empathize.
“We are what we hate” takes its toll on us, sure, but what is even harder to accept is that “We are what we love”. At times it becomes extremely hard to think that there is a hero residing somewhere in the depths. Who is the hero? Me? No, it can’t be me. Doing what we know in our hearts is right, helping someone when the crowd would not, defying the barriers that try to stop us, having the courage to stand up for ourselves, taking dicey chances, being as valiant as our heroes is just as strongly buried in our personal deeps. It won’t surprise me if 7 out of 10 people around own up to their flaws easier than owning up to their own potentials.
Marianne Williamson put it very simply, “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Is it Pogo vs. Williamson then?
Have we met the enemy and is it us? Or are we fearful of how powerful we are?
Spend a little time with this thought. How deep are your secrets buried? Do you acknowledge their existence? Are you aware of them? Would you face your flaws or would you own up to your potential?
At times, it is the fear of the society that doesn’t let us accept who we really are. We are afraid that we would be mocked if we act ourselves. As such, we bury that person that we really are somewhere deep within us and paint our faces with colors that do not belong to us. Would you not agree if I said that one should get to choose how normal one wants to act? I could be as colorless as I wanted or as hip and cool as the next person. When walking down brick lanes, I could choose not to play hopscotch. I could choose to stand properly in the bus. I could choose to pretend to like something when I actually don’t. I could choose to fall for any guy out there. I could choose red over blue. I could choose to act like a grown-up. And I could choose to be a naughty kid. I could choose to flutter my eye lashes in order to get something done. I could choose to be mature, sensible at times. I could choose to live with my flaws. I could choose to flaunt my potentials.
Open your own doors. Do not wait for life to do it for you because without fail, it will eventually open that door for you some day. What is the need to keep waiting then? Stop walking according to how you are told to. Face the dragon courageously. Face it alone. Let it out. You are the master. Be the master.