“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?”. The queen asked this question and mirror gave the correct answer. That was a magical world. The real world is different and far more complex. If the question was to locate a single person “who is true to himself and does not pretend to be somebody else”, i don’t think the most powerful mirror would be successful in answering this. This is because the world is full of people always attempting to present the best version of themselves. In this attempt, their true self becomes their shadow, which is always present but is never recognised.
How many times in your life you have had this feeling that the person in front of you is not the one you knew. You just get surprised thinking what has happened, Why this change?. So million dollar question is what are the factors that result in such change?. There may be multiple reasons but in my opinion most common ones include trying to fit in, changing yourself according to expectations of your loved ones, not able to comprehend that life has moved on and you are in different phase of life, trying to imitate someone even if you are a totally different person.
It will be naive to say that changing yourself is bad. Some changes are good and make you a better version of yourself – physically, socially, economically or mentally. But we have to understand that positive changes occurs both internally as well as externally. There is no conflict. You are who you are. So how do you recognise a bad change from a good change?. Its simple, unwanted or forced changes make you a different person from outside but deep down you are still the same old person. But just like shadow, you ignore your inner self and one day completely forget about it . The result is that you loose yourself, and it mostly has a negative effect on you. For example if you have changed yourself for someone, by choice, you are happy from inside. But if someone forced you to change then it will eat you inside. This will slowly build up dissatisfaction and unhappiness within you, even though from outside you may seem happy and content. Slowly the negative feeling will take over and then neither you nor people close to you will be able to remain happy. Thus there is no point in bringing an unwilling change within yourself, even if you are doing it for your loved ones.
So, IMO, its only you who can guarantee that you remain true to yourself and the only person who can ensure “you are who you are”. After all your inner self is an integral part of yourself , just like your shadow. It may disappear for sometime or you might be ignoring it, but deep down you know that its always there.