"Image vs Identity"

‘You’re having a poor image at your workplace’, ‘You’re having a bad image among your relatives’, ‘You should create a better image of yours in the society’, this is what we usually get to hear all the time. Improve your ‘Image’ which means improve the way people look at you not the way you are which is your ‘Identity’.
We are always trying to clean the dirt present on the mirror thinking that this will make us look good, always in the pursuit of improving our image. But practically speaking we cannot clean the dirt present on each mirror, and even if we do it will take no time for the dirt to reappear. We cannot please everyone at the same time, your one choice in life might appreciate your image in some group of people and at the same time might depreciate your image in some other group of people. We always try to clean the dirt from the first mirror and end up having second mirror as dirty, while if we try to clean the second one we end up having the first one as dirty. This leads to problem very rarely discussed known as ‘Identity crisis’.
In the struggle of improving our image and trying to please everyone, we somehow forget the original person that we were back then. We then in our life face ‘Identity crisis’, not being able to recall our real face, the originality that made us unique and different. Something that was our own, our own ‘Identity’; not something that is given to us by people, an ‘Image’.
One way to come out of this everlasting problem of identity crisis is to stop cleaning the dirt on the mirror and rather start working on yourself. Once you start believing that you look good, and stop worrying about other’s feedback about you, you will feel satisfied from inside which will be reflected in the form of an improved identity. If you are confident about who you are and always chasing for some improvement, you will not be worried about others feedback in the form of an improved image.
It is not your job to worry about image when you are aware that everyone in this world is wearing virtual glasses of a unique color and is viewing the world with a shade of that color which we generally call as ‘perception’. You cannot change everyone’s perception toward yourself, but you can surely change your perception toward yourself. If you’re successful in building your strong perception about yourself, you will be having a strong identity and ultimately being unaffected by your image.
If you keep on working on your image you’re literally working on a jigsaw puzzle with no actual solution, you will keep on rearranging the parts and will gradually get more confused, doubtful, and directionless. You only have to realize that your image holds no weightage, and you cannot directly improve it. You must work on your identity and make it so strong that even those virtual shaded glasses on people’s eyes are dominated by your identity and they are in no position to judge you.
Being unaffected by image sometimes is not easy, it is not easy to ignore all the negative things surrounding you, all those comments against you. But you only have two choices, you hate the smell of the garbage and you’re not liking it, still you’re having it in your surroundings or you can simply move away, get yourself out of that place. People sometimes argue that we cannot stop meeting negative people, we cannot stop interacting with them. If you cannot do that, is it too difficult for you to just ignore the negative comments and pass on a smile? It will surely demand some guts and will power, but it is undoubtedly a better option than being affected by it, being degraded, going back home sitting in a corner and wasting your time thinking why did that person say that? Do you expect someone wearing black shaded glasses to have a view of some other shade? You do not, right? Then why do you expect someone having a wrong perception to think good about you? What matters is you, and your own perception about yourself.
Never ever feel devalued just because others do not think good about you, you are present in this world with you own unique identity, no one knows you better than you know your own self, you know your strengths, you know your own potential. Don’t give anyone the right to shatter your confidence only by a few words, believe in yourself and your identity because this is what you are, and make sure your identity wins whenever there is a battle between your identity and your image.
Faraz Ali (Student of IBA Karachi)