Overcoming insecurities and removing external definitions

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?

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Why does there have to be struggle in life

How many of you think struggle is part of life?  That if you want to get something or somewhere, you have to fight for it?  How many of you believe everything happens without having to fight to conquer it all?  That things happen quite naturally, as long as movement is in place?  Or how about that process and achieving something naturally takes time to evolve and come to fruition, that is all?

I ask these questions because at the bottom of struggle in life is this belief that you have to work for what you want to achieve otherwise you won’t get anywhere.  It’s not the sentence in itself, of course there is “work” behind every action if you’re going to get from place A to Z, but the weight given to “work,” as if it’s this insurmountable obstacle and that the road is going to be so arduous and painful; that added feeling is brought about by the way part of the world decided to portray this idea of working to get what you want.

A good portion of people in this world promote the struggle life notion that many people feel everyday and use to acknowledge what their journey will be like.  I still recall going through it myself; the internal heaviness that came from contemplating all the decisions I had made up till that moment and seeing only a fraction of where I had envisioned myself being after doing that.  This feeling did not motivate me, maybe the quotes and inspirational messages of people who had climbed their mountain did; but all my moment did was drain me of energy and make me feel powerless.  As life started showing signs of me being on the right path by materializing situations and events, it dawned on me that struggle didn’t have to be part of the equation.  It wasn’t that heavy feeling that helped me get anywhere, it was me steadily pursuing what I believed in wholeheartedly.  It was that simple; and in that moment of realization, a weight was lifted off my shoulders and everything became so much easier from there on.

I share this tidbit in the hopes that it helps you reflect on your struggles and realize that it doesn’t have to be that way, that heavy.  There may be those who advocate tough insurmountable challenges or maybe it is because of that toughness that you are pursuing your goals.  There are people who thrive in the extreme opposite feeling conditions (high stress, high reward).  If that’s the case, this means struggle is in tune with you and part of what will help you get where you want in life.  But if you notice that you’re not a life struggle type person, that your day to day struggles bring you down and drain you of your energy, you can change the scenario.  It takes some time and self-awareness, refraining from seeing everything as a battle, and entrusting your thoughts to life and your inner knowledge of what your path is meant to be.  All you have to do is make a choice and go from there.

Whether you’re a person who chooses struggle in life or belief in life, you will get to where you’re meant to be, you will achieve all that is going to be a part of your life.  It’s simply a matter of time.

What do you think about struggle in life?

What’s your identity and why is it important

When it comes to inner growth, identity plays a major role.  It’s fundamental because if you don’t have a clear idea of your identity how can you really pursue inner growth?  Identity helps you to identify the growth you’ve made or the growth you’d like to achieve, or even the growth you don’t want to make.

Inner growth and identity are something very personal.  As such, there is no one right way or one correct definition.  Even though our societal structure has sets of defined identities, we even talk about identity with specific characteristics and meanings, each individual can apply more than one aspect of specific identities, as well as feel that they are not any of the identities defined.

The choice to agree or disagree with the notion that identity is or isn’t something defined by others is yours.  Based on your thought process and belief you will choose what is true or not true.  And no matter what data can back up an argument in favor of fixed identities, there will always be someone or something else that will say otherwise.  More importantly, until your findings don’t sit well with you, your search for identity will continue on.

Inner growth involves being aware of who you are, the external factors at play in your day to day life, and being objective about yourself without confusing external factors as a part of you, as well as being able to extract yourself from a situation and not take something personally or for it not to imply something more than a mere situation that happened and is now gone, done with.  The same goes for identity.

People want to pin point who they are and usually they start from the framework that has been provided to them by those around them.  Take as an example those online quizzes and tests people are so eager to take so they can give a title to their identity.  And let’s also keep in mind the results following the test; a good percentage of that description may fit, but there’s always that something that gets added or taken away from the identity they got.

For both inner growth and identity, it is important for you to be able remove yourself from the framework, as if you are looking down upon it from afar.  To be able and look at those societal opinions and definitions as something that exist, but that don’t necessarily have to be a part of you.  This is not to say other’s definitions are not to be taken into account; but it is to say that your opinion matters just as much if not more when it comes to your identity.  The only way you are going to avoid confusion as to who you are is by deciding who’s going to make that decision.

Is your identity going to be based on your definition, your opinion, your heart; or is it going to be based on somebody else’s?

As long as your choice feels right, then it is right for you.  You know your identity already; if you feel you don’t, it’s probably because you’re trying to make it fit in a framework that isn’t unique to you.  It doesn’t have to be this way; avoid confusion and find your identity by being aware of you and the framework.  You are separate, yet coexist together (because without the framework, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation).

You know who you are if you listen closely to your heart, the rest will come and transform through time, as all things do.

What do you think about identity? What challenges did you face or are you facing in knowing who you are?