We underestimate our power to restrict ourselves. We underestimate to a larger degree, our power to break out of our own mould.
As we travel our lives armed with what we believe is a clean heart and an intelligent brain, we seldom acknowledge some else's belief of the same things for themselves. Principles are overrated and so is the concept of a 'character'.
How often have we felt that what we did was not like 'us'? How often have we slaughtered someone else's behaviour and called their actions 'unlike them' or 'so out of character'? Well, if it really is not like you to do what you did, why then would you do it? Characters and our definitions of ourselves are derived from our ideals, thoughts and ambitions. Our definitions of others are the consequence of a combination of our perceptions, assumptions and our expectations from them. But, what really makes an individual is his actions. I smile with guilt as I say this because I like to judge myself by my thoughts too.
I am not trying to downplay the impact of one's thoughts and intentions. They are infact very important in the process of making an individual. I simply want to point out that we need to stop glorifying the concept on restricting ourselves to what's like 'us' and what's not. We laugh at the teenagers suffering from serious peer pressure issues and constantly trying to fit in. But subconsciously, we are doing that our entire lives.
If you've bribed a priest to get a better view of your favourite God, then don't justify it by saying that you don't usually bribe and are in fact strongly against corruption. Heck, you took this pilgrimage to 'cleanse your soul' didn't you? You clearly needed to make that bribe to clean it properly. If you are speaking ill of someone, don't start with 'I don't usually bitch but..' Well, you're sure as hell bitching right now! If you've cheated on your partner or broken someone's heart, don't try to justify it by saying it was your first time. The point is, you've still done it.
Everything would be so much easier if we just led a no holds barred life. Why do we try to reduce ourselves by bottling our free spirits only to suffocate them so they eventually, do break the bottle, defy the rules and attempt to break free? It's like when you're parenting- you know fully well that the moment your tell your toddler to not touch something, his curiosity increases even more and he'll touch the object given his first chance. We never grow up about these things. Imposition of rules by others is another thing, but imposition by oneself is an entirely different ball game altogether.
The reason we end up in phases where we find freedom and peace elusive by all measures is simply because we are responsible for binding ourselves by unnecessary rigidity only to eventually indulge in a few acts out of the rulebook.
But even as I write this and feel this, I know that I am going to get back to making rules for myself, holding myself back and calling some actions out of character.
Is this the way we're raised or is this just a more comfortable way to be? A narrow mind, conformism are often the unexpected rescue for the rather lazy ones.