They do not know who they really are. That is, they may have falsely identified themselves with something in the world they are living in, such as “I am a successful businessman” or “I am a good mother.”
Once they have created for themselves their false identities, they naturally feel the need to protect and preserve their self-created images. In doing so, they desperately want to control and protect their destinies, such as avoiding what they fear might taint their preserved identities, or repeating what they previously did in order to sustain and substantiate their identities.
As an example, a “successful businessman” might want to overwork in order to avoid in future all possible failures in his or her business, or to repeat in future all his or her past successful business endeavors.
As another example, a “good mother” might strive to control the behaviors of her children in order to control and shape them into the individuals she wants them to become to prove that she is indeed a "good mother."
In the process of protecting and sustaining that identity, stress is not only unduly created but also aggravated by all outcomes falling short of their expectations. Nowadays, many people are living just to escape their yesterday’s pains and to anticipate their tomorrow’s pleasures; unfortunately, they are on the road to more unhappiness, and not less.
The bottom line: you are who you are, and not who you would like to become.
Not letting go
The unhappy people simply refuse to let go of what they think belong permanently to them; they anticipate what they think they rightly deserve through their efforts to control or influence the outcomes of events in their lives. They are afraid of any unforeseeable change, especially death that puts an end to everything they have delusively created for themselves.
If we live according to Tao wisdom, we should have no identity crisis, because without an ego, we know who we really are, and not being someone we wish we were. If we live according to Tao wisdom we should never become depressed, because we let go of anything and everything in life -- the good as well as the bad, the pleasant as well as the unpleasant. We just embrace anything that comes along our life journey. No letting go is the underlying cause of human depression, because we neither forget nor forgive.
My Way! No Way! Tao Is the Way!
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau
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