Here’s a conversation I had with my friend:
Nayana: Have you had someone tell you that they can’t figure you out, or that they don’t get you. And then you simply say that you don’t get yourself either. But then you start to wonder, if you don’t get you, and others don’t get you, then who are you? Like, am I this bundle of uncertainty waiting to spontaneously burst into strings of confetti and glitter? Or am I just a little weird the way I am? But then, isn’t everyone a little weird, don’t we all have our flaws. And as much as what we do know of ourselves makes us who we are, at the same time, so does what we do not know of ourselves. Because what we don’t know keeps us interested in ourselves and what we don’t know makes us the people we are. We are different, we are special, we are individual, we are unique.
Me: What if we don’t know anything about ourselves? And everything is uncertain? And the only things we’re certain about are about other people? Does that make who we are depend on who they are? Or are they two completely different things?
Nayana: We become most like the six closest people we spend most of our time with. So basically who we are is influenced by who our friends are. But our friends are influenced by their friends are role models too. And society. And school. And the environment. We are not ourselves. We are all an idea. A story we have made up in our heads. We have subconsciously made ourselves become the people we are. Which is, we are everybody else.
Me: Why six?
Nayana: I dunno. I read that bit somewhere. But it makes a lot of sense.Not the number. But the thought.
Me: But why does your personality have to depend on the personality of others? Yes, I know. It doesn’t HAVE to but it still does, no? Why? And how is it that when you compare things about yourself to people around you, you find some similarities and it makes sense. But when we think about who we are (me, at least) irrespective of the people around us, we can’t really come up with anything, nothing makes sense and we just don’t know what is real and what is not. How does one know that one really likes something out likes the thought of it?
I wish I knew.
Me: Do you ever get the feeling when someone says “I know you. This is how you think” and you go, oh my god I really don’t know. Do I? I don’t think so but I’m not completely sure. I should be, shouldn’t I? When this happens to me, I start to wonder if other people know who they are or if its just people like me. Do people know if they like something or not? Do they know for sure? Do they know who they are? I for one change so often I have no idea who I am. Or maybe I don’t change and I just think I am because I keep switching between people I think I am. I keep switching between opinions and thoughts I think I have coz I have no damn clue what is real.And the best part is, I don’t ever realise when I switch. It’s not like I can feel the change or anything. It all just comes naturally.
Nayana: I was thinking the same thing, the part where I don’t know myself all that well. Because all I’m completely certain of, is change. And that is going to happen. It keeps happening.
I sent the above conversation to my bestfriend, Nikhil. Here’s what he said:
Nikhil: I honestly believe we are who we are irrespective of other people. Sure we may be different than the person we think we are, but we are a certain person nonetheless. Our views change with any influence, not just friends. It’s just that that’s something that influences us largely because they’re complex things with points and views and we’re emotionally attached to them.But I don’t believe we are simply our views and points. We aren’t merely the sum of our parts.
Me: But don’t we need to know who we are? Don’t we need to know if something I’d real or not?
Nikhil: Well that’s what people spend most of their lives figuring out, who they are
Me: So, no one knows?
Nikhil: Not that no one knows. It’s just not that easy. You have to make a conscious effort to figure out who you are
Me:But the people around you know? What do you base the conclusions of this effort on?
Nikhil: Well one of the things you do is try different stuff. Try and determine what really makes you happy, and disregard what anyone thinks. At all. Meditation helps a lot.
And then I sent his reaction back to Nayana.
Nayana: Hahahaah! He is so right. Brilliant words though. That’s why we are so indecisive.Because we are constantly trying to find ourselves.
Nayana: I love conversations like these
Me: I know, right?