Whenever people actually find their own song to sing, their deep-seated sense of self-doubt begins to be released, leaving a space for creativity to fill. The song turns out to be beautiful; people find that they can sing it without being punished and even earn a living being themselves.
In every case, the song is socially positive and acceptable. Beneath the fear of being unique, each of us has a powerful craving for as much uniqueness and specialness as possible.
Why is it that at first the prospect of being ourselves is so horrifying? Deep down, as much as we might deny it, all of us have been hurt by having our childhood wishes trampled on, but we accepted it “for our own good.”
A child needs and demands to be respected as a unique person, but being small and helplessly attached to his parent’s approval, he will sacrifice his own feelings to win the reward of their love.
For most of us, our parents fed us their own concept of “being good,” and we conformed to that even if it rankled our still-selfish childhood egos. We were all taught to be good before we wanted to be good. This may sound like a fine distinction, but in later life it makes all the difference between freedom and slavery.
A gap was created between true and false emotions, between what I should feel and what I actually feel. The process is subtle but treacherous. If it goes on long enough, one forgets what it is like simply to be, to let happiness and sadness come when they will, to give or keep as the moment dictates.
Adapted from Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra (A Bantam Book, 1991).