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February 02 Issue

Donna Vela
It didn’t occur to me that amid those smiles and pride in all her achievements, there is a truth that constantly eludes my perfect friend.

My friend Lyra has been working for three years now. She constantly airs that she is happy with her job, in fact she feels so great and much fulfilled at a young age. She travels a lot, went to prestigious Schools and University in the Country, has a gratifying job, promotions, you name it…Of course, I was so happy knowing these things, and I feel so proud of her as always. She has always been great, as I have known her especially when we were in college. She is an achiever…a remarkable leader.

But, somewhere along the way, there came a point where I doubted how much I have known her all these years. It didn’t occur to me that amid those smiles and pride in all her achievements, there is a truth that constantly eludes my perfect friend. One day, she slowly opened up…slowly unfolded what is inside her. I never knew how something as unbelievable as what she revealed to me would actually happen to her.

She poured out all her hang-ups, her weaknesses, her indifference about things, her frustrations and other things that express the emptiness inside her. The fulfillment she was bragging about was a lie and was full of pretensions. That there is no, and there never was, any fulfillment at all. She called it "pseudo-fulfillment". She thought she had achieved something worthwhile, but she was wrong. Yes, there were fame, fortune, promising career and a secured future. But, all those years, she was just convincing herself of a reality that never really existed. She has lived in a dreamworld, full of hoaxes, phonies, false promises, and deceits; a world she never really wanted. She has all the material things everyone dreams of having, but she feels she wants something else; something she herself doesn’t know nor understand, but she feels she has to find out, or she will never be complete.

I believe a lot of people have the same story to tell… a story of being lost and feeling unfulfilled. I guess it is inevitable maybe because of a lot of factors and maybe because there were not enough choices to make in life. But are these reasons enough? I don’t think so.

I admit, I felt deceived when my friend revealed the truth. But, I understood somehow why she did it. I realized that maybe she is searching for her true self, which I believe all of us have to go throuh, that she is at the stage of finding what her soul really searches for. Admission of not knowing oneself fully, or of wanting something that is not there, is hard, and even painful, especially for someone who has been looked up to for so long. But, opportunities are there for us to find our own calling and it is never too late to uncover what the truth says about oneself.

Knowing yourself does not happen overnight. It is a long, sometimes agonizing, yet fulfilling process toward the realization of yet unfounded story of your own true self. You taste the tears, you feel the pain, you face the struggle head on. You go through a lot of things in the process just to get there. But these are just a prelude to something bigger, something deeper than wanting material things. It is a noble, unearthly wanting. It is a revelation of your genuine self. Sometimes, you thought you were already there, just to find out in the end that you have not yet traveled the long winding road. The sense of wanting is still there, and even reason could not fathom it, but you know you have to go on.

Knowing yourself is not an end, but a means toward a real fulfillment, toward a sense of belonging, a sense of connection. It is a constant process. It can never be practiced nor memorized, but rather, it just naturally comes out, if you only listen to what your soul is saying, if you only let silence reign in your heart and mind for you to hear that inner voice.

Yes, it is sometimes hard to listen especially when you were blinded with the labels others have branded on you. And because you are oblivious to matters of your soul, you consequently convince yourself that you are someone you are not. There comes confusion of your own identity of who you really are. But you can always take a step back, reflect and listen to what your soul is saying. Perhaps, behind that feeling of emptiness lies confusion and fancy beliefs of who you are, perhaps there's a destiny worth finding.

Searching for something innate does not make you less of a person. It is separate from searching for material things, for fame or for power matter-of-factly. It does not make you an inept person nor a dumb one for that matter, but rather, it makes you extraordinarily different because you have unleashed your strength and will to rediscover time and again what you believe is right for you. It takes a lot to finally decide what you always wanted, but it truly pays when you are there on top certain of what lies ahead.

When my friend revealed her true feelings, I finally admired her more for having the courage to admit what she is not, and for confessing what she truly feels. It doesn’t just flourish out of a feeble mind. It comes out of a desire to find a long-lost self-worth. And finding that self-worth translates into finding a place in this world.

Don’t be absorbed with what others think of who you should become. Break free from that chain of slavery. Don’t let yourself drift further from who you really are. Don’t let others hold you back from wanting something more. Instead, find your self-worth. Find what you really want. Free your mind and soul. So that when you look back to reminisce what you went through, you do so with a sense of fulfillment and a serene heart, for you know right there and then that you have traveled the right path.

My friend’s realization of wanting something more is indeed a beginning of a quest for something unspeakable…something that truly dwells within herself…something that would make her see the essence of life. And it undermines the forces that continue to lead her astray.

"Knowing others is intelligent.
Knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength, but
Mastering yourself is true power".
- tao tse ching
(Chinese Philosopher)

© Donna Vela March 2002


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