The other day I was late for my plane. Not because of traffic, bad weather or any other external factors outside my control, I mixed up the check in time and next thing I knew – came the sinking feeling in my gut when I realised that instead of getting in my taxi to go to the airport I should be fastening my seatbelt – on the plane.
This wasn’t a big deal, I got the next flight and arrived home one hour later than intended – end of story.
However, I got so upset with myself – a lot more than is appropriate for this situation. Whilst I found perfectly acceptable that these things happened to many people before, I was disappointed that I was one of them.
When I finally got over my pathetic-self, I wondered why I was feeling this way. I came to realise that this was all because of the ‘black & white approach’ to my perception of myself.
Let me explain. I think I am an organised, reliable and punctual person. In fact these are some of the traits I identify myself with (
in addition to others like smart, funny, and overall amazing creature of God). No wonder when something challenges this conviction, even if it is my own behaviour, it affected me 10fold – my identity is at stake after all!
But who said I am organised? or punctual? or any other labels that I so carefully guard? And if I am organised (most of the time) it doesn’t mean I can’t be absent-minded and disorganised at times as well.
Our life is full of white and black stripes, happy and sad events, success and failure. The same is likely to be the case with our personalities. I might be kind, but sometimes I am angry, or I am talkative but there are times I like to keep quiet,
I might be overall amazing, but occasionally I am such an asshole.
This brings me to the importance of recognising that our ‘self’ has many facets. It is crucial we allow all of them to exist and not just the ones we like. Without that balance, we would not accept our true selves and even in the smallest of situations beat ourselves up for something that is just another side of us.