“A proverb is the mirror of the community.” – Ewe proverb
The best you can give the world is yourself. Not you as society has shaped you to be, but you as in the image of our Creator. After all, He created you like Himself. Interestingly, finding the authentic self is that quest the vast majority of us have never set out upon. We unconsciously found it easier to mould ourselves according to the glorious expectations of society, thus preventing ourselves from first knowing who we are before we became what we are. We make no distinction between ourselves and society, so much so that we have no sense of living aside from how society dictates. That is why the bulk of our conversations are about how well we doing according to societal expectations.
Many of us do not know that we are not living according to our authentic selves. Society has done a good job of tutoring us to approach life with a pragmatic view: as in save yourself, work for yourself, dress for yourself, eat for yourself, and do everything for yourself. Why bother about ‘others’ when you have reached the zenith? It has moulded us into duplicates and we do not realise it because a duplicate does not know that he/she is one; and the closer a person gets to being a duplicate, the less he or she knows it.
Talk to the average Kofi and you will notice their societal-created selves. Their understanding of respect is centred on group expectations and never on self-discipline. Their identity is one with that of their society. That is why many of us are what we are. We have carved respectable lives but lost ourselves. Is it thus strange that emptiness gnaws inside us?
And to worsen it, we try filling the emptiness with materialism. The damage we do to ourselves with that act cannot be adequately described with “one jumping from the frying pan into the fire”. It is more of transitioning from being a prisoner to being a slave. The chance of you becoming free is slimmer than the thickness of paper.
As society flows through us and we flow through society, it is very normal for the majority of us to become societal-creatures. For starters we are social beings, coupled with that fact that we are the only creatures which have the ability to become other things beyond just being human. We usually interpret and modify our attitudes through our conception of what is around us.
That is why many of us assume that we have to live according to the dictates of society, especially as we hear and see the scornful way those who go against the norm are treated. So, being a societal-creature is not offensive. It is a painful thought to accept that years of honing ourselves has not made us unique, but at best has made us prisoners of our society. More painful is coming to terms with the fact that we had to suppress our wonderfulness in order to be accepted.
Unearthing the uniqueness of the self arises from something more delicate than the illusions society offers us. It is found in losing one’s societal-created self. If one does not die to that self, one cannot be resurrected into the fearfulness and wonderfulness with which you were first created. The death of your present self is necessary because it has been hounded and hooded by society as a strategic fit for its aspirations.
Its death in a way pre-disposes you to be more open to the beauty of your originality, the image and likeness of your Creator. Lest we forget, it is your soul’s craving for this authenticity that gnaws like emptiness inside you. It cannot stand that you have mistaken a lesser beauty, society, for what is truly beautiful, the divine; and so it nudges you to make amends.
When one dies to the societal-created self, the self is no longer the centre of attraction and this allows you to see life’s bigger picture. This new knowledge offers you opportunities to re-align and re-centre your life according to the thought with which the Creator made you. It is an effort to let go of selfishness, to turn away from that which enslaves us in order to return to our wonderfulness whereby we let our Creator’s grace reshape our attitudes to reflect His image. That way, we touch life with the divine and cause love to blossom wherever we find ourselves. It is this gift that world needs from you; the gift of you. Are you going to offer us that?
Kodwo Brumpon is a management consultant and a life coach who inspires individuals, groups and corporate bodies to think and feel that which is true, and helps them to positively respond to that which is beautiful while nudging them to let goodness govern their actions. Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org