Home Artikelen
Living Outside or Inside ourselves

Living Outside or Inside Ourselves


We have to be on our own is the cultural rule of the Western society. In puberty the process of weaning away from one's parents starts. You take over the identity closely related to your parents or if you disagree with their way of life you have to look for your own identity.

In case you feel insecure, lack self-confidence or have burdened yourself with an inferiority complex, it will be difficult to accept yourself as you are.

You then look around and try to emulate the behaviour of persons you admire. It can be persons in your environment like a successful uncle or a rich person from the neighbourhood or the boy next door who has many friends or is popular with the girls. It can also be someone from a novel you read, an actor or an adventurer. The copying can be successful and you'll end up with a choice behaviour which more or less fits. When the copying is not successful it enforces the lack

of self-confidence and the sense of being incapable. But both the outcomes can have the result that you live more or less outside yourself.

You will not know it for you do not have the experience of being an adolescent living within oneself. But it shows for instance in a sense of loneliness. Especially if you feel you are not accepted (enough) by the environment and the people around you. In such a case, it will be very difficult to realise on your own that your loneliness is more due to the fact that you have not accepted yourself as you (originally) are.

Logic and experience tells us that it will be impossible for a person who is fully himself (living within himself) to feel lonely. We feel lonely because we are a stranger to our own identity and look for it elsewhere. In Dutch we have a saying: “I feel pleasant within my skin (ik zit goed in mijn vel)." It means you are in harmony with yourself. On a parallel is the saying: "I have to put barriers for myself (ik moet mijn grenzen stellen)." It means I lose myself in and with others if I do not put barriers and stay with myself. In our context it means: because I live (partly) outside myself I am less fixed and secure which creates the condition in which the environment can flood me and I seem to lose my identity. If one lives within oneself, one's identity cannot be overtaken or easily shaken; one is much less fluid and more stable socially.

The phenomenon of living outside one self is relatively new. In other cultures the family feeling is so strong that an identity separate from the family is rare. In earlier times, the same was the case in the West. One's 'identity' was given by the culture and the religion he belonged to. It could not be otherwise. Exceptions were artists and strong personalities.

It is really due to the freedom and the hippie movement of the sixties that the question of one's own identity (not given from outside) came fully to the front. The problem of inferiority is the result of the old manners of the culture and the Church. To exercise a measure of control over its people the Church had introduced the instrument of guilt and original sin. It is not a great help if you are branded a sinner to be sentenced to hell, if you do not obey. It makes you a psychological slave and it takes some doing to erase that imprint. But as always, with the change comes the solution to this problem. We are of course not lost in sin. The freedom brought with it the reality of choice. We can choose what we become. If we are not satisfied with what we are or where we are, we can choose to become otherwise or arrive elsewhere. This is the grand adventure before us. We need to learn to live within ourselves and be ourself and then develop ourself to whatever we want or chose to become.

If you expect that you are living outside yourself, there is a practical advice: buy a house for yourself. The house stands for oneself. To buy and live in one's own house one has to accept oneself and accepting oneself is the way to live within oneself.

Contact: info [@] sriaurobindo.nl