اَلسَّلَام عَلَيْكُم وَرَحْمَة اللهِ وَبَرَكَا تُهُ
Before we begin, may I ask you a question? Make that two. How do you imagine yourself to be?
Do you think of yourself as an outstandingly average person? Are you a writer? A musician? An amazingly good friend? A cruel person? A heartless? An introvert? Just another person to be forgotten by time's flow? A leader? A follower? A student? A gamer? A man? A woman? A nerd?
Sorry, but that looks to be more than two questions, I know... But seriously, "How do you see yourself?"
Often we define other people (sometimes effortlessly) as we go about our daily lives. "You know that Asian boy from D-block?" or "...that lazy guy in our Management Accounting lecture..." or even "the very quiet Malaysian who eats a lot" (Yes, all of that refer to myself).
It doesn't really matter what you call it: descriptions, prejudice, presumptions, labels. They all point to a single thing which is an image of a person/object/event. They all mould and shape our understanding of that person/object/event. For now, let us keep the object of our discussion limited to people, shall we?
Yes, it is too easy for us to describe others. But when it comes to defining and describing ourselves, we often place a very distorted picture of ourselves and present that instead of the truth. I can only wonder why... Is it because we say things that we wish for ourselves? Are we dangerously biased whenever we start to examine ourselves under a microscope? What explanations can there be to this baffling phenomenon?
These and many other questions visited me tonight. At first it seems easy to come up with an answer. After all, who would know me better than myself, right? Surprisingly, I can't even begin to answer the first and most fundamental question of "Who am I?"
I have a fairly vague idea of what I look like, how I carry myself. I know my preferences in certain matters. I have twenty years of experience living with myself (no breaks, no holidays!) to help me create a self-image that would closely resemble my entire being. I have laughed and cried, gone through highs and lows with myself. So naturally it should be a cakewalk.
Ironically, it is the very intimacy with myself that prevents me from having a solid grasp on my own image. It is those very information that I've gleaned to add clarity that clouds my vision of myself. I think I'm a good enough guy but then I've done certain bad things in life. So am I good or bad? I help people quite a lot. Then I remember the many times I saw a person in need and walked away blind, knowing that it was within my ability to help. And this process repeated itself for EVERY single aspect of my life.
Frustrated? You bet! :/ This then begs another question: if everyone knows what I know of myself, how would that change the way they think of me? Not so highly I would assume.
(Written: last year)