Heart, Spirit & Mind

Your identity and your life

blank-maskDo you know yourself? Do you know who you are, how you feel, your dreams and purpose? Suprisingly, many people do not.

Instead they drift through life, following inertia, following other people’s plans. They often go with the path of least resistance without a sense of direction.  This often happens because the person does not have a sense of identity, and does not know themselves.

Finding oneself can be very enlightening. Once  you do, you feel a sense of serenity because you become self-sufficient and you gain confidence. You no longer need validation from others because you validate yourself. You have a strong foundation of who you are, and what you believe. Your moral compass and belief system is solid. You are able to carry out your life’s plan free of internal conflict. It gives you the ability to enjoy life to its fullest, complete with both its pleasures and pains.

Finding yourself can be very difficult if you have never been connected to who you are. You may struggle discovering what makes you strong. When you begin, it is the most difficult, but over time it gradually gets easier. It begins with taking baby steps, small achievable goals which over time helps you gain courage and confidence to do more.

You start with creating a plan for your life and writing it down. Examine what events have already happened that helped shape who you are. If you aren’t clear about your past, it will be difficult to flourish in your future. It’s very important to understand and embrace whatever has held you back so you can move past it.

Don’t dwell on negative past events. Instead look for how you have learned from them. Try to recall your events accurately. It may be difficult for you to remember everything.  However, revising the past and making it worse than it was or pretending it didn’t happen at all does not help you and can often make things worse. For better or for worse, your every experience has made you who you are today.

One way to master your life is to develop your own moral code and stick to it. Conquer any habits that have allowed you to escape or allowed you to avoid thinking about your true self. There are many habits and vices that do this. Some are simple to identify such as drinking and smoking. Others are more subtle, like watching television or spending time on the internet rather than spending quality time with your partner, or spending some time alone being mindful. Anything that has prevented you from functioning at your peak, that lets you “off the hook” of being accountable to yourself, preventing you from doing some hard analysis of yourself and life is a habit that should be curbed or eliminated entirely. These habits are crutches that prevent you from improving yourself and your life. It may take some time and considerable effort to make these changes. Many changes happen slowly over time. What is important to remember is that your life goes forward when you aren’t spending it looking backwards.

You may have a strong need to be loved and accepted by everyone. You will gain a sense of freedom once you decide to let it go and you do not dwell on the fact that there will be some people that don’t like you. You must move forward and focus your attention toward becoming the person you see yourself as. There will be some people who will encourage you while others will have trouble accepting it. Forget about what other people think. People who really care about you want you to be happy, no matter what. So long that you convince yourself that you need to please all people, all of the time,. you will never know who you truly are and what strengths you should cultivate.

You will not be able to please everyone. The changes you make may evoke fear and overwhelm them. As you travel the path of enlightenment, it may shine a light on their own foibles that they have been trying to escape. Be patient with them. Give them space and companionship. It takes some people longer than others to reach the path of enlightenment. If they don’t, leave them alone. It’s not your job to bolster their sense of self.

Rely on yourself. Part of finding yourself is being able to believe and rely on yourself. You have to have solid foundation and a sense of yourself. If you don’t, you will be easily swayed and unable to make decisions on your own regarding right, wrong and appropriate. When your sense of self is too tightly intertwined by someone else, you are engulfed in a maze of “otherness”. You won’t be able to find yourself anytime soon.

When significant people in your life are intimidating, controlling, manipulative or bullying, it can be difficult to confront your authentic self. They often color so much of your sense of self, that it is difficult to distinguish the difference between you and what they project upon you. You end up spending your life living up to other people’s expectations rather than your own.

The best way to overcome this is to start trusting yourself and your judgement. You will make mistakes. Everyone does. You will also learn from them and it will help inform you find yourself and reach your real sense of self worth.

When you lack a sense of self, you tend to shove the details of life under the rug. It is easier in the short-run to ignore these things, but eventually they do come back to you, making matters worse. Things don’t simply sort themselves out by ignoring them. To master your life you must understand that you must steer it, not let it carry you along wherever the tide brings you. When you take responsibility for your life, it allows you be self-reliant and determine your future.

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