DON’T LET OTHER PEOPLE DEFINE YOU.

Why would they define you anyway? You don’t have anything to say for yourself? Are they going to tell you what to like, who to love, what to do, how to think, what to wear, what to eat, where to live, how to walk, etc.? Why would you let them? Why do them that humongous “favor”? Who are they to define you anyway? Are they in your heart or your brain? Do they know who you are? Do they know what you have been through? Do they know what you want or crave?

I would like to answer no to all those questions. There is nothing more dangerous than letting others give you value, because, as I like to say it, you will never get the right value. You will end up undervalued and frankly that will mess with your mind and your sense of self. When people proclaim that self love is the most important love, they are 100% right. You need to put value on your own person. You must define yourself. You must figure out who you are. You must figure out what makes you tick, what turns you on, what turns you off, what inspires you, what repels you, what irritates you and a whole lot more that I cannot possibly mention.

Figuring out who you are…It might be simpler than you think. We have all been programmed to think a certain way, but rarely have we been encouraged to think for ourselves, as an individual. I personally view thinking for yourself as allowing yourself to be alone, not lonely, and think about your life. That doesn’t sound complicated now, does it? All you have to do is be alone with your thoughts, wants, needs, dreams, aspirations, desires and fears. You just need to face yourself and that is the scary part for most people. That part, I admit it, isn’t as easy as it sounds. It isn’t complicated, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t scary as hell. You are confronted with yourself and no one else. Suddenly, there are no distractions, diversions, or people to blame. You are facing your toughest opponent: yourself.

Now, you got to think about yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you like? What do you hate? What can you stand and finally, most importantly, who are you? Your name, social status, money, academic achievements, salary, possessions don’t matter anymore. It is you and only you, just you. So, who are you? If you let others define you, then you will be someone else, someone most likely completely different from who you really are. Isn’t that sad? You would be missing out on the greatest experience ever in your life: being yourself. That is the easiest person to be, by the way. I am just sayin’…

Being alone, not lonely, isn’t easy and it requires a lot of strength and honesty. You must be honest with yourself. Accept the fears especially. You must deal with your insecurities, admit their existence. You cannot run from yourself anyway. You could run but you cannot outrun who you are. That is a game you don’t want to play because you will lose. If you don’t believe me, please try it. You will waste some time but, in the end, you will have to face who you are.

People yapping in your ears and telling you who you are can derail your thought process. Ten years ago, a former friend came up to me, as I was dealing with the messiest break up in modern history and he took the liberty of psychoanalyzing me. As a childhood friend, I politely listened. He ended up telling me HOW I FELT. Can you imagine the audacity for one second? He didn’t ask me how I was but he told me what my faults were. Here I am, my heart in pieces, my body broken and on the verge of depression and this fucker tells me how I feel and what I should do! I was baffled by his analysis and I faked a call to get away from him before I could tell him things I’d regret. It is just a tiny example of how people can define you, tell you who you are, how you feel or should feel, what to do, etc.

The best thing you could do is to start by understanding who you are as a single dot in this infinite and ever-expanding universe. As hard as it might sound, study your past, your childhood, what went wrong or right, who your family and friends are. Look at what you have done so far. There is always a pattern. You will figure out what you like and hate. You lean one way more than the other. Still, you could always be leaning a certain way because of your culture, not because you like it. The hardest part is to figure out who you are. That part is almost impossible to do in a blink of an eye. The process will take time. Rewinding the film that is your life is quite helpful because it is in the past that you find clues about who you were, who you are, who you might be aspiring to be and who you wouldn’t want to be.

Once you have accepted and figured out who you are, then you are getting somewhere. You will become more confident and others will not have such a strong hold on you. Confidence in who you are is like any other muscle: don’t use it and it atrophies, use it and it gets stronger. Simple as that. Confidence isn’t about dismissing others, it is about knowing what you want and what your limits are. That is it. Confidence is about you not others. Figuring out who you are isn’t about making others mad, it is about making yourself happy. Take the time to figure out who you are. Ignore the surrounding noise. Be yourself. Stand by your choices and make choices that make sense to you because self love is the most important kind of love.

Just one man’s opinion…

Now, smile and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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