One of the most important tests in life occurs, not when an individual’s inner belief or understanding of himself and the world is questioned, but when this paradigm becomes shattered. While one must be old enough to have some sense of who they believe they are and how reality works, this total foundational collapse can occur at any age through any traumatic event with damaging psychological effects.
Every child or adolescent must endure a minor version of this to enter adulthood—realizing the world is nothing like the one described by their parents, teachers, or the Disney Channel. But the major crisis occurs after one has developed a strong foundation of beliefs that they live by every day.
Following the Hermetic principle of Correspondence (as above, so below) the collective crisis—whether through social, political, economic, or environmental—produces a crisis on an individual level. If one is brought up with a flawed or misunderstanding of himself and the world, an identity crisis is inevitable.
When the world no longer seems fair, how do you see yourself? How do you make your choices?
If you see the world as a place that should be fair and thus owes you something better than what you’ve been given, you will be confronted with what lies underneath the false ideals and identity you were conditioned to believe—the true face of life.
We cannot change the true face of the world, but the fact is, it has no proper face. It has no identity other than the one we give it, determined by our free will. We have the choice to live as we want, to act as we wish and to be what we want. It’s not what you are underneath—not your secrets or identities—but what you do that defines you.
The ultimate flaw is the failure to accept that you cannot blame the world for how you act or your failure to act. Such a rejection causes a person’s inner self to shift, resulting in a choice to lash out at this perceived deception. They don’t yet see that it’s all about choice. Pain is inevitable in life, but suffering is a choice.
Many people today choose to sit and suffer, blaming other externalities for their pain, because in most cases, it’s the easiest way of coping. However, they will remain stagnant in their growth if they refuse to change their perception. Continuing to live in such a way will ultimately lead to their own demise.
Though, once the choice is made to do something about it, that false sense of identity fades away. Instead of running from the truth, you begin to embrace your true self without caring what the outside external view of yourself may be. It’s far more essential to be a hero to yourself, by making the choice you know to be right and not based on how the world perceives it. It may not be fair and just, but at least you don’t have a false sense of who you are or think you’re owed anything. At least you take responsibility for who you are.
Nothing makes you who you are but yourself. It’s the choice of being who you want and doing what you believe is right. Doing the right thing isn’t about what others think, or if they even see it, because it will always be the right thing to you.
The choice is always in your hands. Such enlightenment is the reward for overcoming the ultimate hardships of life, better known as the dark night of the soul.