By: J.A., Writer for Hope Instilled
This is advice on creating and making yourself into a person you love! Plus, overcoming society's stigmas on who you should be.
In my previous blog, Discovering Who You Are & Loving that Person, I talked about how we have things about us that we can’t change such as physical characteristics such as height, eye color, and body type. Then, we have inherent personality traits that we are born with, and we can’t really change those things either. So we just need to find a way to love ourselves for who we are. However, now I’m going to talk about the fun part, the things we can change!
We have a blank canvas when it comes to how we act, how we treat other people, and our general mannerisms. We also get to choose our values and our beliefs. Thirdly, we can decide what things interest us, what hobbies and activities we want to engage in, what career we want, what types of relationships we want to have, and live whatever lifestyle suits us best.
Before I go into more depth on creating the ultimate, best most lovable version of yourself, let’s talk about how society has a bit too much power over who we are and who we become.
In America especially, I’ve noticed our society always wants to put people into a box and label them a certain way. For example, our society wants you to be Democratic or Republican. Many will say you can’t be in-between or undecided you are either one or the other. If you are not outgoing or quieter you are labeled as shy. However, being shy means you are afraid of people, and for many people, that is not the case. If you cry a lot it’s a negative thing – you are seeing as sensitive and weak, especially if you are a male. Since I’m into shopping, fashion, jewelry, and love dressing up, people have thought I’m not a nature girl – which is completely inaccurate. I can be both and I am equally both.
Many people (maybe not the majority though) have a hard time wrapping their heads around someone with many facets to their personality. Sometimes people think personalities are contradictory, such as being a thrill seeker and adventurer but also loving kids and wanting to settle down and have a family. Another example is being a tough, strong wrestler or football player but also having a soft sensitive side. That is perfectly fine. You can be whatever combination of things are natural and feel right for you. No one else gets to decide but you.
Some people get confused when they can’t label you. So they will label you a certain way just to satisfy their own needs, not because that is who you are. Our relationships with others only define us if we let them. Just because one person decides you are an unkind, selfish, or lazy person, does not mean that is who you are. Even if you feel you have been those things in the past, those things don’t have to define you. You can change who you are. Your only limits are the personality traits you were born with and even those can be improved upon. People see what they want to see.
I have had plenty of people come and go in my life who spent lots of time with me, but never really knew the real me. I’ve had people close to me have a warped perspective of me, and I couldn’t do anything to change that perspective no matter what I did or said. We can’t worry about what the world thinks about us because there will always be someone judging us no matter what.
Society isn’t going to just magically going to stop labeling us or judging us. We just have to make sure we don’t label or unfairly judge ourselves.
If you are chronically sick you can be seen as weak, lazy, or inadequate. People even tend to think it is somehow our fault. But, it is not our fault we became sick.
Chronic illness is just really misunderstood, there isn’t enough awareness around it. So I know that it is hard, but we can’t let that make us bitter. If anything, I think it is best to try and educate those people, share what you go through, what you are feeling, and what you need from others. Some people will change what they say and how they act if they just understand a bit better, and others won’t. But that’s okay, you can find other people who will understand more or just be there for you.
I have been personally hurt by what some people have said with regard to my chronic illness. However, I know that their intentions were not to hurt me. But, there are some people who have no empathy or concern for others' feelings. So surround yourself with the right people. Appreciate what is special about you and what you can contribute to this world.
Society not only wants to put you in a box and label you, but they also want you to fit into certain norms, values, or beliefs that are not always your own. An example of fitting society norms is in America people expect that after you get married you will have kids. Not only family members but even strangers ask about it. Right after you get married they ask “when are you going to have kids?” not “do you see kids in your future?” or “what kind of dreams do you have for the future?” It is just said as if it is a definitive thing that is going to happen. It is always awkward when the question is asked like an expectation. You might think, "Wait isn't this my life, or is someone else in charge of it?"
It is actually really sad that some people feel the pressure either from their families or society to have kids, but don’t actually want them. I’m not saying these people don’t end up being happy – some do. However, there are some people that were never really meant to have kids. Also, some people get married for the wrong reasons because they feel like that is what their family or society expects.
Many people are also expected to attend college. Then, if a person doesn’t go to college many say they are not going to get a good job and they are not going to be financially secure. Our society also pushes people to get a degree, get a job in their designated career, get married, get a house, and have kids in that order. However, those expectations and an order to things have started to diminish over time.
Typically, a person’s values and beliefs often mirror that of their parents, but some people go their own way completely. A person might have certain religious beliefs because that is what they were brought up to believe in. But, you are free to find your own way religiously. I was brought up a Christian but didn’t like the church’s perspective of God being this distant entity you worship. Every church I had been to as a kid I just felt out of place and even bored. I didn’t think I would ever like church. I am still a Christian, but I eventually found a church that centralizes on the idea of having a relationship with God (not worshiping from a distance), and that has a lot more meaning for me. I actually enjoy church now.
You can decide how you value your time, and how you value your money. You can choose to live anywhere, be an adventurer, be an entrepreneur, work one job, or multiple jobs. It is your choice if you want a big family and a big house or to travel around the world in a trailer home or van. The hobbies and interests you pick, and what you do with your free time is all under your control. We make hundreds of decisions every day. The only thing that truly traps us is ourselves. Although, finances, our health, people, or past experiences (or trauma) in our lives can have a strong influence on us.
Some people go through life just following a pattern, sticking to some checklist of things they need to do every day or in life in general, and they sleepwalk through life. Many get caught up chasing after material things thinking they will be happier with the bigger house, the fancier car, the boat, or whatever it might be. Many people chase after this perfect picture, but will still deep down feel like something is missing. Some even get wrapped up in living someone else’s life.
Lots of people fall into conforming to society instead of living a life based on who they really are. So they never find their life purpose.
Society in general is too busy, constantly doing things, and it is seeing as a positive thing. So therefore not enough people just sit still in silence and listen to their inner voice, and consider if they are really deep down satisfied with their life. If we even just took some time to meditate we would be more mindful of everything we are doing and can help to access the subconscious mind which controls 95% of our daily actions. It is where we can truly be in touch with our emotions, intuitions, and sensitivities. Read more on accessing the subconscious mind here.
Read more on why most people never discover their life purpose.
Being Chronically Sick Can Lead to a Greater Understanding of Yourself & A Life Purpose
I truly believe that being chronically sick can not only lead to a greater understanding of who you are but actually lead to a greater life purpose. When you have been through more struggles than the average person, more pain, you also become stronger than ever. You may learn more about life, learn deeper lessons about being human or living in a broken world. Your viewpoint on what life is all about may be so different from those around you, whether you realize it or not. You might also have developed a stronger and deeper connection with who you are and who you want to be. You can no longer fit into society’s bubble of who they want you to be. So you can truly focus on who you want to be and who you really are.
I’ve noticed a lot of people who have suffered from chronic illnesses over a long period of time also develop more empathy and compassion for others, oftentimes toward people who are strangers. With these experiences, qualities, viewpoints, or knowledge gained, you have way more to offer the world than someone who has lived an easy, carefree life.
Do you really know who you are at the core? I DO.
I think I’m an ever-evolving person. I still have more to learn about myself and more aspects of who I am to create. However, in order for me to write about all this, I have found who I am at my core and how I can be at my best. I can’t write the way I do without being in the comfort of my home, sitting in silence with no distractions, and only hearing the sound of my fingers hitting the keyboard, or possibly a cat snoring in the background. In a busy office space, my creativity and my writing wouldn’t be anything great.
As I write this, I know that writing about these things is part of my purpose. I have spent a lot of time exploring who I am, figuring out where my talents lie, understanding my fears, and the dark parts of me, along with the light inside. Not only have I explored who I am, but I have created the person I want to be. But, I’m still continually working to create an even better me. It hasn’t been an easy path, but knowing myself so well inside and out has allowed me to find, and even feel a deep sense of purpose.
Creating the ultimate version of yourself can be super fun and extremely rewarding!
It is time to rip away those stigmas to find the real you. We can re-invent ourselves and re-mold ourselves like clay. We can start from scratch deciding who we want to be, and design the best version of ourselves!
Take some time to explore:
Develop your canvas!
I have a lot of great ideas for discovering who you want to be in this blog post: https://www.hopeinstilled.org/blog/148/37/in-depth-advice--how-to-improve-self-esteem
Can’t do it alone? Need guidance?
If you feel a bit stuck in your life and are not sure what direction you want to take you could also try meeting with a Life or Wellness Coach. Their job is to help people figure out their goals, and provide support and guidance to help those goals be achieved.