The Stress of Recognition

The Stress of RecognitionAll our life we run after recognition. For many of us, it is our major driving force for any work or career. Even in our relationships, we crave recognition for work done, for tasks accomplished etc. But when we don’t receive it, we feel let down, betrayed and hurt. It feels like all we have done is for nothing. Even when we run after money, we are still looking for recognition that comes with money.

Imagine walking into a room full of people where no one recognises you; as if you are a nobody. As if you almost don’t exist for them. How does that feel?

We like to recognise ourselves through an identity – father, mother, daughter, son, engineer, doctor, professional, rich, poor, successful, good, bad etc. All our life all we know of ourself and others is this identity. Also we don’t just have one identity, rather we have multiple identities and we keep shifting between those various identities or roles.

When we fall in love with someone, we fall in love with an identity of that being. But a person is not just one identity. Each one of us juggles with many identities and when that identity doesn’t match the identity that we fell in love with, we feel betrayed, lost or confused.

But all we are seeing around us and within us are these various identities. The question is – Who are you without your identities?

What would you be if you are not any of your identities?

We are so hung on recognition based on an identity that we cannot imagine being not recognised, being a no body. Its scary to say the least.

Society refuses to accept people without identities because it provides a structure which the mind is comfortable with. The mind is not comfortable with anything unknown. Having no identity with which to recognise someone somehow doesn’t fit into the society’s reality map or perspective. That is why most sadhus or sanyasis who are nobodies are not considered a part of society.

But having no identity gives you the freedom to be anyone or anything. It is the ultimate freedom that allows you to prosper and flower as a being.

Even kids are forced to have an identity by assigning them a certain career path and professional identity. A kid who is not sure of what he/she wants to be career wise is looked upon as confused and unwise because the society is confused as to how to recognise them, it creates an uncertainty which is extremely uncomfortable for it. Whereas in truth he/she is the most versatile being because that kid can choose to be anything.

All the stress comes from wanting to be recognized, wanting to be somebody.

How many identities are you carrying? Ask yourself “WHO AM I?” And keep asking until you can find no words. At least once a day, choose to look at yourself as a nobody, as if all the identities have dropped. Experience that freedom. No recognition is needed. And it will lose its hold on you. And you will be able to finally relax.

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