It seems like we humans are never happy with simply being. We often strive towards becoming someone or something else. If we’re unhappy we try to become happy. If we think we’re ugly we want to become beautiful. If we’re poor we want to become rich. On and on we go in life, becoming.
There is a thriving industry based on our desire to become different than who we are. On the Web we find articles and videos about how to become a more stylish dresser; or how to become a successful person. Do you want to become more loving? There are videos about that. If you want to become a better cook, look up a video about that subject. These are all good and helpful. Life and society have improved because of these writings and talks.
The desire to become is worth contemplating. Why do you suppose we are unhappy with the way we are and want to become another way? Often times the process of discarding what we are in favor of becoming what we want to become is painful and full of conflict. We might think of the man who is unhappy with his physique and becomes a body builder. In order to acquire rippling muscles, he must endure great struggle and effort resulting in frequent bouts of discomfort. In order to motivate himself, he may frequently utter the phrase, “no pain, no gain”.
We harbor visions of becoming an ideal self. It’s a trick we play upon ourselves. We spend a lot of mental time tilting at windmills or sparring with ourselves in pursuit of becoming someone else. We struggle with manifesting an ideal projection of our fantasies. It seems like this is a universal condition found in people around the world. Much of this struggle is beneficial and much of it is detrimental.
For instance, one of the most common human wishes is wanting to become wealthy. It is admirable that a person wants to have enough resources to provide for the benefit of raising a happy family, to eliminate worries about obtaining wholesome, delicious food, to finance ones higher education, to travel, to help ensure a comfortable retirement, and generously contribute to charitable causes.
However, the wish to become wealthy sometimes morphs into the desire to be the most wealthy person in town, the nation, and the world. Somewhere along the path to becoming comfortably wealthy, the detour of becoming greedy is taken. The act of acquiring wealth is no longer helpful to one’s well-being and to society, but becomes a personal obsession and harmful to society. This scenario has been present from ancient times into the present year.
My point is not to moralize about the evils of greed. The example is used to illustrate the possibilities and pitfalls of wanting to become someone else than who we are. It is wise to regularly examine one’s desire to become different. Is the desire moderated by a balanced approach to life?
Are we becoming who we can honestly feel good about being? Do we yearn to become the best who we can be? Or do we hunger to become the greatest in the world? These are very personal questions that require sober thought and consideration.
There may come a time in ones life when she or he discovers that some struggles to become something are disintegrative. We are not necessarily helping ourselves when becoming something goes out of conscious control. Such conflict is not necessarily the acquisition of wealth; it can be in body building, controlling ones weight, the pursuit of influence and power, and so forth.
At what cost are we willing to pay to become someone else? Perhaps in addition to wanting to become someone, it’s worth considering wanting to transform and become integrated.
These are just some thoughts to ponder as we begin our work week.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the writer Rajesh Kumar. “No gender, No age, No religion, No caste, No region, No salary, No family background…I want to know the people by what they are…and I want them to know me by what I am…there’s nothing to do with all this stuff!”