What makes you who you are? Is it the way you were raised, the experiences you had, what some bully said about you on the playground 20 years ago?
The truth is, most of us have our ideas about who were are yet these ideas weren’t created by us, they weren’t designed by us, and we usually adopted these ideas without question.
Unless you have spent years of your life in counseling or therapy or unless you have gone on a creative journey of self discovery, chances are your beliefs are made up of nothing but the same ideas that you have been repeating about yourself for years.
We all like to think there is that little bit of “me” in there somewhere…
Most of us can watch an old home movie, or look at a photograph of ourselves as children and see that little bit of ourselves that is still there today.
Do we still have the same traits we did as children because that is who we are, or is it because we feel that those characteristics make up who we are?
I always believed that I wasn’t outgoing and I didn’t like going out into large groups of people.
When I was growing up that was my mother’s belief, I adopted it, and for 24 years it was my belief too. I always felt that I liked people, but I couldn’t stand being in large groups. Then I had some major changes in my life, and two things occurred…
First, I decided to start going out a few nights a week to meet new women, and second, I met an awesome woman who was part of a HUGE family.
When I first started trying to reprogram my ideas about who I was…
It was a challenge; I went out to meet new women, but I couldn’t find the courage many times to go up and talk to anyone; I had a hard time getting use to the club and bar environment and it was a struggle for me just to be surrounded by so many people.
Just the experience of going out was more than a little overwhelming to me, but add in the pressures of wanting to meet new people and it was almost too much to handle at one time.
I made a commitment to go out at least 2 times a week and for a few months I was able to stick with it; I met a lot of new people and I felt way more confident and outgoing than I ever had before and then I ended up meeting my now girlfriend.
So now that I met an awesome woman I could just sink back into being a loner again right?
Nope, not now, not ever!
As I got to know my girlfriend I found out she was part of a huge family of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends. She is part of the Cambodian community and they stick together, they focus on family, and they have big get togethers.
In the beginning I would go over to family get togethers and feel a little overwhelmed; I would read a book or play a game on my phone in order to pass the time and to feel less overwhelmed with the experience.
Over time I realized that using distraction to get used to the pressure of big social situations wasn’t going to help me get better, so I stopped taking books and I started to put away my phone. I realized that if I wanted to grow as a person I needed to be uncomfortable and do things differently. Now I feel like part of the family, but “who I was” could have prevented this from ever happening.
I won’t lie and say that changing who I was, was an easy task; and, I certainly didn’t do it on my own.
I spent a lot of time reading books on confidence, on meeting new woman, on developing charisma, and on increasing my communication and listening skills- all to the point that now I probably tend to talk a little bit too much at times.
I realized through my experience that you truly can change who you are over time, and there are no set characteristics that make you into the person that you are today; if you want to change yourself in anyway, it is possible. Don’t think of it as betraying who you are or being fake, think of it as growing as a person and expanding your horizons.
It all starts with making a kind of blueprint and experimenting with new ways of doing things…
Imagine you are like me and you want to be more confident and get along better in large groups of people; the first thing you need to do is to figure out what confidence looks like. If you have always lived life believing that you are shy and withdrawn, chances are you don’t even know what confidence is made of.
You can read some books about confidence, read books or watch videos about people who personify the confidence you are seeking; you can watch these people and you can start to see how they act: it gives you an idea of how you SHOULD be acting.
Then you start the process of acting confident: you focus on your body language, your speech, you become more assertive, and you focus on putting yourself in situations where you can develop more confidence.
After a while, you stop acting confident and you start feeling confidence. Once you start feeling confident you will actually become confident.
The truth is that you will act the way you feel and you will feel the way you act.
If you feel shy and lonely, then you will act shy and lonely; conversely, if you act shy and lonely then you will feel shy and lonely. If you want to make a change you have to break the cycle and take over either your emotions or your actions.
It is much easier to change your actions then it is to change your feelings, so it makes sense to first try acting the way that you wish to feel.
There is a reason that successful people are so confident- because they decided one day to start acting confident, then they had some success and felt a little confident, then they had more success until one day they became confident.
— Makeyourbestself.com (@MakeYourBstSelf) October 27, 2015
The reality is that most of us are waiting for life to bend to us, or we simply imagine that we are the way we are.
Who you are is just a story, it’s just an idea, and it isn’t real. No one else can come along and change you, it is up to you. If you dislike something about yourself, then it is up to you to change it and you DO have the power to do so, but you will never know unless you try.
I promise you, if I can do it, so can you.
If there is something you want to change then make a plan, study it, start acting it, and eventually you will become it.
If you need help creating a plan, sticking to it or if you need more motivation and encouragement there are ways to help.