There is a psychology test, which I find quite simple but interesting: In one minute, think of three animals you would want to be if you are to be reincarnated in the next life.
Now, one minute for you, do not continue reading until you have your answers in mind.
What are your answers?
The first animal you thought of is the very person you want to be. It represents your aspirations, desires and ideal figures.
The next animal indicates the person others want you to be. It is synonymous with responsibilities, social norms, and pressure, expectations from others. It is everything others want to see in you or anticipate you to achieve.
The very last one is the real you. This identity is usually eclipsed by the other identities but it is always part of you. Sometimes it emerges as strongly and persistently as ever, but your dreams, ambitions, and society soon suppress it.
It depends on your surrounding circumstances, society and living environment that each identity of you will stand out and take control of your reasoning, what you say, what you do, and what you plan.
I have been thinking a lot about my answers, which are, respectively, a bird, an ant, and an owl. You are maybe wondering why I didn’t want to be a cute little kitty or a beautiful butterfly…
A bird to me means liberty, no restrictions or obligations. I want to be free, I dream to fly. I cannot sit still, I must explore, discover, and experience… A bird appears to quite parallel to the figure I desire to be.
An ant? Why this tiny creature? Ants are famous for their diligence, discipline, and cohesion. That is exactly what others expect me to be: obedient, secure, and orderly. Who are others? Family, peers, acquaintances, the whole society I’m living in.
The owl is a nocturnal animal, part of bird species. It can fly, like many other creatures of the same species, but it is awake and hunts only at night. It is quite unconventional huh? While most of the living creatures enjoy the warm sunlight or take advantage of the brightness during the day to hunt, eat, etc., an owl seems to unusually like darkness. With sharp eyes wide open, an owl has a privilege of seeing things clearly and thoroughly despite the dark.
And I, I have the craving to see things behind their surface, the hidden sides of everything. I want to see and feel things from a perspective that hardly does anyone notice. Is it odd, to have a strange yearning to see the sides no one wishes to see or no one wishes to show? We all, after all, have a dark side in our very soul that we keep unrevealed. A sorrowful memory, pain, perhaps? Or the very different angles of ourselves that have been carefully and sophisticatedly concealed by our longings, by our society.
I wish to have the perspective of an owl, so as to see things as themselves; not to judge, but to perceive the most genuine souls of all beings.
The lifelong journey of finding yourself takes time and courage. Some can do whatever it takes to get what they want, even that means spurning their dignity and integrity. Others set aside their hopes and dreams, lie to themselves to lead a life that does not belong to them, a life that has been planned and arranged for them. We need to be rational in order to balance the three identities in ourselves, to discover each identity as profoundly as possible, to explore what really lies deep down in our souls. Eventually, we only have one life, lead it well…
I, myself, am being torn by the three identities in me. It is not easy to make a decision gratifying all sides of me. I am, after all, still on the journey to understand myself.
So what about you? Which animals would you be?