* A revised version was published on Elephant Journal on February 29, 2012. Click here
Our evolution as a species has progressed due to our ability to adapt to the environment, and to withstand the metamorphosis of our genetics. I’d like to think it’s because the universe has big plans for us, or it could be that we’re just lucky. Nonetheless, adapting is what we do best, or better said, what all life forms do best.
In today’s world, we unconsciously shift into many roles. And at any given moment, we retreat our true selves and bring forth a new persona that can only exist within a particular environment. Similar to a chameleon that camouflages itself in accordance with its emotive state, we too change colors. In a city like NY, we often find ourselves having to adapt in this way more times than we can count. Whether it’s to function in the workplace, or to engage socially with strangers, we switch gears in order to fit in. But when do we draw the line between adapting and losing oneself?
In my opinion, the line is drawn the very moment we feel forced to compromise who we are, and/or whatever feeds our soul. But the important question is how does one NOT lose themselves? Personally, I remind myself that I am simply flowing in and out of what truly is and what is not. And that nurturing the real self should be a daily practice; taking the time to do what I love, no-matter if it’s basking in silence or treating my inner child to ice cream.
Self expression without fear is also essential. I’ve found that it is easy to lose yourself in a world that often does not value, or encourage individuality and authenticity; one’s voice is often not heard. However, it shouldn’t hinder us from speaking our truth, and from being our most authentic selves, regardless of the circumstance.
I understand how difficult it can be to separate the roles we adapt throughout our daily lives from our true self. At the end of the day, we take the energies associated with the person we become, and lose sight of what is important. Though the ability to adapt is crucial, there is a relentless voice that tells us we are neglecting the person behind the ‘mask,’ and that in spite of our intrinsic need to adapt; we mustn’t forget to let our essence shine through.