Typically, we all get defined by our loved ones as we grow up. You know, those comments that end up defining you as the talker of the family or the neat freak or the nagger, and so on. While these traits can be a part of who you are, they don’t have to define you in such a way as to make you insecure or self-conscious. Yet, they do affect each one of us in a way that makes us justify or excuse our behavior in numerous circumstances. If it only stopped there that would be fine, but these definitions of us also end up affecting what we do or don’t do.
When you’ve been told for most of your life that you’re a certain way (whatever the traits and behaviors you’ve been ascribed) you also think that maybe you can’t do something because of it, and this is where these external definitions stop you from doing something. But the little component that stops you for good is you, which is why you need to remove these external noises. The only way you’re going to do this is if you stop thinking these traits are something you need to remove or something that need to be justified. So, how do you do this?
For starters, recognizing that many of the definitions (vices and virtues) of you come from others. By others I mean loved ones and guides. This includes parents (first and foremost), siblings, teachers, friends, and colleagues to name a few. With this knowledge, you can now move on to recognizing when you’re getting on your own case because of something someone else has told you is a “bad” thing or is something that could be avoided.
We all have had these situations where we stop ourselves or think about something we’re doing in a way where we make an excuse and justify why we’re doing what we’re doing. It’s in these instances that you should remember that the only reason you’re justifying yourself is because someone has told you that you do this too much or that you should stop doing this because it’s not a good thing. You become self-conscious and this makes any insecurities you may have regarding yourself that much more present.
This heightened insecurity then brings about a feeling of lack or not good enough or maybe just a tiny doubt about yourself; no matter how big or small, it stops you from being yourself 100%. You hold back because you have your loved ones’ repetitive voice in your head telling you to get rid of that habit, to stop doing that thing, or just that you’re too much of this or that.
Once you sit down with yourself and ask if you’re ok with being that “too much” or “too little” then it’s up to you to come to your defense the next time your insecurity arises and you hear those voices, those comments, that allow doubt to creep in. Stop in that moment and remind yourself that you’re ok with that trait, that you accept it and it is others who are different and that this is ok. It’s ok to be different and at the end of the day, the comments that these loved ones have made are based on their personalities, their perspective, their behaviors.
Another thing you could do in addition to helping yourself overcome these external definitions and stop having them hang over you and keep you from being you is to in turn stop doing this very thing to someone else. If you define your loved ones or anyone and tell them why they shouldn’t have that trait or that they have too much of that trait, remember how you feel about this exact same situation and keep the comment to yourself. Instead, be encouraging to them and help them to be themselves 100%, all the way, with no shame and nothing that needs to change.
How have you worked through external definitions of you and in doing so helped to eliminate your insecurities too?