Building a Sense of Self

Photo by Drew Coffman

Our identity morphs throughout our existence. At first, we change with every interaction and later we start to find a sense of self and align ourselves instinctively with people who share our values. By the time that sense of self kicks in, we might have consumed quite a few unfiltered beliefs. The challenge is building the sense of self while building a better you.

If you are like me and you had an interest at any point in life and you were swayed away from it without even realizing it, you’ll understand the power that other people’s believes hold on us. The paradox is that growing takes selective learning based on self-founded values. But to build these values, we need to explore and learn. Both processes happen in parallel. By being aware of this happening as much as we can, we can make a conscious decision on what the renewed foundation, the renewed self will be and how to build on it.

Is Giving Up Ever an Option?

Photo by Christopher Campbell

Most of us have given up on something at some point in our lives. Giving up is not memorable to the outer world because no one gets to see our work or hear about our initiatives. Ideas that materialize can bring value to the world around us, but ideas can also have a negative value. They can instill a feeling of self-defeat and guilt if we give up without taking a chance.

Re-framing our reality can help us pick up an initiative where we left it, follow through with it and succeed. Reviewing an old initiative through a fresh lens is enough to add to the story of creation.

‘I started this project two years ago, took a break and now I am back on it with a clearer view or a more mature mind’ or ‘I started this project two years ago and when I revisited it I realized that it wouldn’t have worked in that format. I now have a better understanding of how to improve it’.

There is the other side of the coin though, which allows self-doubt to make the call and await for perfection. Perfection is in the process. Allowing time to pass will not attract results unless we do work on ourselves and on what we are trying to accomplish. Giving up? What does that even mean?

The Effects of Personal Growth on Others

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Cultures in which status differences are seen as the doom of relationships embrace a fixed way of thinking. The belief that two people from different backgrounds, with different education and wealth cannot mix might sound archaic, but it’s still present. It might not be as obviously exposed, but remarks such as – what if he or she gets jealous, what if you have to give up your career or all your hard work? What if you need to stop growing? These are all questions that show a fixed mindset projected on others.

Self-growth is a personal experience. Those around us can decide to join us, put us down or observe us from a distance. It might be challenging pushing forward and connecting with other people that we resonate with at a different level, but it is often necessary. We shouldn’t shy away from putting our own self-growth first and other people’s feelings about how we live our life second.

Getting Out of Though Situations

Photo by Oliver Paaske

Thinking that we are stuck is one of the greatest illusions in life. With every step we take or decision to remain passive, time keeps on moving forward. We can choose if we move or stand still, but standing still will doesn’t change anything and it certainly won’t stop the time. Feeling stuck comes from a place of fear. It takes courage to change our circumstances, to stop blaming anyone or anything for what is happening to us and to take full responsibility instead.

Empowering language shifts the focus from the issue to an actionable solution. And if we are able to look forward, we then can take one more step to get ourselves out of any situation. What’s the next step to get you closer to where we want to be in life?

Where Next?

Photo by Ashley Batz

We all have small accomplishments that we can pride ourselves with and patting ourselves on the back can be helpful and reassuring. But what if we think that that’s the best we can do? One college degree, landing a ‘safe’ job, providing for our family. By falling into the patterns of success that others, generations before, laid out for us, can prevent us from being truthful to ourselves and prevents overall progress.

The job, the car, the house. A circle of expenses where we produce just about enough to get by while holding on to our tokens of achievement. So many of us can’t seem to see outside of this vicious circle. The businesses are dehumanized, as if they’re not built by fellow humans. And we fall for the illusion that others will know what’s best for us, even after experiencing pain from a young age while sitting through classes in school for four, six, eight hours a day. Even then we still believe the narrative that that’s all that life has to offer.

What do you have to offer? What are your wants and needs? Your unexplored skills, waiting to be developed? And what value can you bring into the world?

Getting Our Expectations Met

Photo by Zoltan Tasi 

Why can’t we seem to be able to overcome our conditioning? It may be our laziness, tendency of judging other people or our attitude towards money. We come into this world untouched by the world of ideas and biases, but by the time we realize that we can think for ourselves many of us agree to what has been fed to us. What we hear at an early age is limited by our exposure to people. We will most likely be around family and people in the community, maybe some mainstream tv that feeds the narrative of the masses. If you’re looking around you and you see people placed in different bodies with similar identities – it’s not an illusion, it’s what happens when we stop growing.

Being poor and staying poor is a puzzle that not many of us can understand. But the discourse of consumption is so dominant that it leaves no room for thinking that we can be on the producer’s side. What we ask of ourselves is what we get and for that reason, we need to be truthful to our dreams and expectations of ourselves.

Setting our expectations high will allow us to reach there. If we can’t see the finish line with our mind’s eye, we won’t get there. Meeting our expectations of ourselves means asking enough of ourselves to push us forward and to believe possible. But if we were kept in a state of passive living, it may take a big leap of believing in ourselves that will allow us to be pleasantly surprised by our unexplored potential.