It may have been a slow developing phenomena that, like paint drying, you just did not see happening.

Everywhere you go these days, everything you see, hear and read about people and events — be it sports, politics, entertainment — all involve the human psyche, reflecting this age of self-importance and sense of entitlement to the point of feeling superior and, in many cases, above the law.

This vision held by each individual is mostly unfounded and self-appointed. If left unchecked, this could have more serious implications psychologically and physically when the illusion of self is revealed and the individual realizes that he or she is not the person they thought. They see themselves as they truly are, not as their perceived selves.

These are the people that put their needs well above others. They cut you off in traffic, cut in line, take more than is needed or would be considered a fair share. They use money or social stature for personal gain either for themselves or their family, use “the system” as a means to an end to gain something they truly are not entitled to receive. Or they act as if they live at a higher social level than they actually have achieved. The list can go on and on, but the point here is made.

We all have a self-image, an idea of who we are and what we represent to the world. If you have lived for more than a minute, you probably have found yourself redefining this self-image as truths have been revealed to you and adjustments were required.

However, the changes may have only been superficial as you continued down the path you saw for yourself using pride as the catalyst. Even the mirror’s reflection is seen through this filtered lens of perceived self-image and not the real person standing before it.

Many will not be truly honest with themselves. They will hold fast to their perceived self-image despite evidence to the contrary. In so doing, they never feel truly satisfied. This is because they are self-involved, pursuing something they are not meant to pursue or incapable of achieving, and life is a struggle. So, the level of success in that endeavor is well below the expectation.

However, there is a way to change this growing phenomenon.

It starts with being honest with yourself and with each other, brutally honest, and stop the process before it begins, the earlier in life the better.

This may not be easy, but muster the strength to tell the truth to yourself and to that person in your life, be it family or friend, who may not be particularly talented in a sport, music or acting, but he or she thinks they are and they wish to pursue a career in that field.

Just as you would tell them of food in their teeth, or what not to wear, help them be their best person and not a walking talking false version of themselves. You, too, will live a better life by not only helping them, but by being the real you and enjoying your life’s pursuits.

The act of just being honest and taking a long hard look in the mirror is the start to moving in the right direction, and will help to attain a much higher level of satisfaction in life.

It won’t be easy, but it will make your corner of the world a better place, both for you and for those around you. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Remember, true change comes from within. Be bold, be courageous, and be relentless in the pursuit of the true you.

Patrick Earhart is a Pinehurst resident.

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