There’s a fine line in spotting the one who enters a room with a self-assured glow and recognizing it for what it is. There’s a fine line between the charlatan and the saint. At the core one is mud, a house of sand and fog, built of straw and as fragile as a passing whim. It is illusion to those who encounter it and delusion to the one who portrays it as reality. Like smoke cast as shadows against the wall of a cave, it hopes to distract both eyes to believing that what is seen is real. Such a personality is common, one who tucks the warts of imperfection under the rug and hides its true form. If, by chance, light touches the truth of what it is, an unspoken terror can be found trembling down its spine, in fear of being exposed. A false image conveyed to the world, a chattering beast created for the sake of surviving in a place where struggle and suffering run amok. It is a sepulcher, a tomb built so thick that we become blind and deaf to the innocent and soft kernels of who we are, and grow numb to the feelings which convey our conscience.
Self-confidence is so rarely authentic. The strong ones so rarely reflect a true persona. The personality is a survival mechanism and it so easily warps into a distorted lens from which an adult becomes enslaved. The reality of the situation is that when something is crystallized into a form, like steel or statue, it needs to be melted or crumbled before it can be made anew. It must be subjected to intense heat and pressure, chopped down to its essence and rebuilt carefully so as to align with principles and values which truly oblige a higher ideal. It is in such a way that a house with false foundations can be remodeled into one which is secure in its frame and ready for the storms of fate. The strength of this one is transparent, warmhearted, flexible and present in every sense. So clean is its insides that it feels with great sensitivity any action or event which may test its discrimination and moral duty. For if it fails and allows itself to succumb to corruption, its heart pangs and its body coils. That is the nature of a real human being, to feel with fine atonement the responsibility to act rightly and responsibly in the face of life’s passing beats.
But who has the will to do what is necessary, to sacrifice the self-image of who they pretend to be? The path of least resistance is the one we favour from one moment to the next. Like a river flowing downwards, what is being asked here is to defy gravity. This self-confidence is fooling so many and proving useful in such a variety of circumstances, that to dismantle it seems to be an act of insanity, a silly and unrealistic gaffe. Yet this self-confidence carries a heavy price, for it is what leaves the cup full, unable to absorb and integrate anything truly new. The bright and rich experience of childhood is only made available to those who have a soft personality, one which is pliable and ready to be remade at will. The other binds itself together tightly, gripping its unspoken desperation, stubborn to let go of something which functions, more or less, as a useful tool of survival. So tight is its grip that light and air have no hope of coming in and feeding the soul of that which lives.
The true insanity is clinging to a personality that is invented, contrived and imaginary. Life is but a dream that ends far too soon to waste so much energy on this silly game of gossip, fears, annoyances, offences and trivial plots. The sad story is that most people wait until old age, when their hormones have settled down, to let go of the nonsense and emphasize the questions which truly matter. It is this recognition, if realized far earlier in our lives, that afford us some greater perspective and relieve us of these egotistic cravings, needs and wants. It is this recognition which provides us the opportunity to sacrifice what matters not and focus our attention instead on the worthwhile pursuits which impart genuine meaning into our existence.