Inside every one of us is a desire to know ourselves. Many are able to numb this desire by a great variety of pursuits and focuses which allow them to be distracted from the search for self. This is the biggest tragedy. The fact that people can go through life never knowing themselves, never seeing and realizing their potential, never coming to know and release the gift that they are into the world.
Everyone of us was created with purpose, and there is not a single person born who was a mistake. Every person was created with meaning and purpose and gifting. And far to many of us miss out on the blessing we are by not taking the time to seek out ourselves. Our world has an ability to exert great pressure on us and without an inner sense of purpose we will always get squeezed out. The choice before us is never one of becoming. We will always become something. Becoming is a certainty. The question is always what will we become. If we do not decide to search out and become ourselves, our world and our relationships will decide for us.
The problem with identity is that there is a false identity. For every truth there is a false. And we have all developed a false identity. The mask that we choose to wear that makes us acceptable to those around us. We all have a false identity. One that we use to protect our vulnerabilities, and that drives us forward to gain the things that our souls are longing for.
It didn’t take us very long to learn in life that we could manipulate the way people saw us to gain something we wanted to have, or to elicit a certain response from people. We began to develop mannerisms that we used to gain the things or relationships we desire. This is how we began to build our false identity. Add to that the situations we grew up in and the expectations of those around us to fit in and measure up to and we have an identity that is built on illusion. One that we have had for so long we don’t even think about it any more
Because our false identity is build on illusion it will always fight hard to protect itself. One of the easiest ways to identify our false identity is to begin to name the areas of our lives that are the most sensitive to outside influences. We all have irrational defense mechanisms that almost instinctively arise within us. These are the defense mechanisms of our false identity. “Because of its fundamental unreality, the false self needs constant bolstering. Touchiness dependably points us to false ways of being. And the more prickly a person you are, the more you are investing in the defense of a false self. Some people bristle easily if they are not taken seriously, thus betraying a need for others to see the self-importance that is so obvious to them. Others take themselves too seriously, perhaps being unable to laugh at themselves. Both reactions suggest ego inflation. Others have learned to mask these outward displays of defensiveness, but inner reactions of annoyance or irritation still point toward the presence of a false self.” Benner, David G. (2009-09-20). The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery (p. 83). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
As you begin to know yourself and remove the false identities you no longer have a need to defend anything. Because you are built on conviction instead of illusion there is no need to defend something that cannot be destroyed. And this causes those around us who have not chosen to begin their own search for identity to become uneasy and defensive, and many times they will begin to attack the person we are becoming, usually without realizing they are doing it. We are simply a threat to their sense of identity and they are responding because of the insecure nature of their false self.
Which means that there is going to be some pain along the way. Unfortunately we cannot avoid it. But it shouldn’t keep us from digging. It should cause us to seek out those who are on their own journey of discovery, and we can then seek support from those who are working on the same things. It is very important that we don’t make this journey alone. As we begin to see ourselves for who we are it is a fragile state to be in, and we will need the support of others to carry us through the early stages of discovery.
A great benefit to us growing into who we really are is that we will inspire others to do the same. As others see the strength and security growing in us they will begin to ask the same questions that got you started, so the journey is exceedingly worth making. Don’t allow the tragic attacks of those around you stop you from discovering who you really are. Otherwise you will add to the pile of people living out the greatest tragedy of never discovering who they are.