When we look at kids, we see how they are not self-conscious of themselves. They don’t care how their hair looks, their nose, the size of their body or anything of that sort. They stay active through out the day, utilizing their bodies as tools or toys to toss around the living room or in the park. They are care free to what others around them are saying. Their level of self-conscious does not exist at such a high level and everything seems to revolve around “fun”, being adventurous and courageous. Eventually, the child grows and that level of self-conscious kicks in. My nose is shaped this way, my body is too skinny or too big, I need to fix or colour my hair. Their youth, courageousness, adventurous selves becomes lost along the way because they’ve developed this self-conscious thinking and the perception of others.
Everything now becomes about perception. What will others think? What will others say if I do a certain thing like this? Will I lose my friends if they think I am weird? This level of thinking never existed as children because what mattered was to please ourselves and nobody else around.
As parents, they are also a building force behind how a child perceives themselves and grows into the best version of themselves or a parent is the destruction force behind their children’s confidence and the ability to tap their own God given talents.
Is it to say, we as adults have lost our way? Lost our own naturalness because pleasing the people is more important in the long term? The short term effects makes us feel great but deep down inside, we know this not genuine and eventually, the feeling fades. We’ve become extremely self-conscious of ourselves that we don’t know at times what is like to be ourselves because we are trying to be everybody else.
The child that was adventurous and brave, becomes entrapped into a society, a way of thinking what will others think, so they close off themselves to being adventurous or brave. The child inside of us becomes caged into a cycle of life based around perception. What is beautiful and what is not? What is rich and what is poor? What fashionable and what is not? As Islam teaches, it is about piety, level of connection with Allah SWT.
If we continue to please everyone around us and never please ourselves, when will we ever become ourselves? When will we ever see the naturalness we have lost and let it escape? We’ve grown into this wild idea that if others are doing a certain thing this way, then it must be correct but as children, we always found a different way. We always invented new things to explore or create. Now, we don’t even think on that level because we have become too busy with things that matter more to others than it matters to us. We’ve surrounded ourselves, our brains to be exact in other peoples ideas or minds. Not to be selfish of course because there is no need to be selfish but the need to be constantly self-conscious in a way that all we think about is the perception of others or how we will fit in.
Parents who are reading or uncles or aunts who have nieces or nephews and parents that are expecting, groom your child into the best version of themselves by allowing them to be natural. Helping them tap their God given abilities and never let them lose their naturalness as we have. Just look at a child in any room and how the only thing matters is happiness of themselves, while we are so worried about the happiness of others and what others will think. There is nothing wrong with having a level of self-consciousness because we will be questioned about our health and our actions but concentrate on being you. It’s important to be yourself and to please yourself more than it is to constantly please other people, while we drown in misery attempting to please them. Most importantly, pleasing Allah SWT matters more than anything in the world. Be you. Don’t worry what others think. Have fun. As long as it is permissible in Islam, then do it and love it!