Identity Non-Negociable

Photo by Parker Johnson

When was the last time you sacrificed your way of being to please others? It might be when you decided to change your hairstyle for someone else, to gain or lose weight, to grow into a certain passion just so you can fit in. Whatever it might, we often are not aware of how fragile we truly are. Although change and influence can work for the best, it has to come from a place of growth instead of the opposite.

What long-lasting change would you like to see in yourself? Write it down on the board. Then plan. What would it take? How would that make you feel? Is it worth it?

Anyone Can Mold Us if We Allow Them to

Thanks to Sharon McCutcheon

Regardless if we have children and young adults in our lives, molding people doesn’t stop with age. Walking into our first workplace, we all had to make adjustments. Maybe you were told that we laugh too laud, dress informal, speak too formal, or that your green hair doesn’t match the neutral tones of the office furniture and of the people that came with it. Or maybe you were made to feel aware of all these things.

There are situations in which people want to sculpt our identity and take away our confidence, pride, humor or just that little something that is so personal to us that it would mean taking away a big part of who we are. And they have the power of doing so, if we allow them.

How can we prevent identity loss? It takes introspection or self-reflection. The genuine nature of who we are will allow us to form honest relationships. That’s the part of who we are that we must preserve. We might be part of a group of people for a specific amount of time, but if we easily change who we are that will take away our ability to resonate with other people. Who will you resonate with if you are less of yourself and more of what others want you to be?

You Really Don’t Have to Be Like Everyone Else

Photo by Daniel Öberg

Many people are exposing themselves as being different at the expense of being treated differently when society encourages the idea of a common identity. In the millennium of extensive travel and migration, of shifting social status, with gender identity and sexuality complexities being recognized, it’s time to stop hiding behind preset ideas of ourselves that family, employers and work colleagues, fellow students and lecturers are projecting on us.

As humans we can only project our most evolved form of self on other people. Anything beyond or below our direction of growth is therefor different. Imagine your feet trying to fit into different size shoes for different events – for work you need to match people’s ego, for family you need to match their perception of you and for fun you need to match people’s perception of themselves in order to maintain the association. Before you know it, you went from a UK size 12 to a 4 and them a 8 and a half. Turns out you’re a size 9. You are different and for anyone to acknowledge that, you need to come to peace with yourself.

Yesterday. No Longer You

Photo by Daniel Olah

Change happens in an instant, what takes time is the process leading to it. And even though we might not know it, internal processes are always in action, shifting our behaviors gradually, in line with our beliefs.

Here’s the irony: who you were is not who you are. Every day starts with a new challenge that shapes a part of you. The decisions on how to react, if we settle acting within our limitations or if we choose to educate ourselves and grow, the decision of being a better person or not, they all account for who we are, in the present moment.

You are shaping today and everyday who you are going to become and becoming never stops.

When Hurt Is Growth

Photo by Brunel Johnson

It’s insensitive to say that whenever someone inflicts emotional pain on us, they’re doing us a favor. Insensitive but somehow true. If we think of the moments we are hurting that were followed by decisions of taking control over our life and liberating ourselves from the people who were toxic, I know I came a long way.

Putting nostalgia aside, the first relationships I had would have taken me to different places in life – different goals, beliefs and interests. It’s striking how desperate we are for company early in life, not knowing intuitively that just having someone is not good enough.

Like many people, I had heartaches and nights wasted on thinking of the illusion of what if. And in those moments, the power within me evaporated. The power within me was with however I lost. But what was once lost it is now clear to me that it was a liberation. The freedom to carry on forming as a human.

the Gift of Importance

Photo by Shirly Niv Marton 

We all want to feel valued. Making others feel important is more likely to bring us friends than building ourselves up by belittling people. Since we all have something to offer, there is great value focusing on what a person does well rather than the points that are not aligned with our own stance.

Respect is earned, but is it? If respect is earned, wouldn’t it mean that we always have to prove ourselves to other people? And in that search, aren’t we moving further and further away from our true nature?

Balancing truthfulness with appreciation is not easy, but reprogramming the mind can happen through practice. Our thinking patterns are thoughts that became habits. Habits can change. We can change as a result of that. And we can start by acknowledging that we don’t need validation, but if other people do, that’s fine – we have plenty to offer.