Wrote this for someone at a site I visit.
I don’t know how many of you will appreciate this post. However, I hope some may see this as a spark of inspiration.
The topic:: “If I’m a terrible person, who’s cynical, a wall-flower, and destined for mediocrity, how can I succeed? I’d need to be someone else. What does ‘being yourself’ really mean? I can’t be myself.”
(PS, there’s maybe one or two people who might benefit from this. I’m likely to link them here… No offense. I like you, and I fear you may still have the fears suggested below. So.. I want you to hear this uplifting speech I wrote.. )
Your reasons and arguments that defeat/down-talk yourself are the enemy you must fight in the first place.
Consider for a second that you may like puppies.
Imagine that puppies fill your mind from when you wake up and until you sleep.
Now, imagine that somebody you trust and value the opinion of tells you that puppies are disgusting, and anybody who likes them is a terrible person. Imagine that when you ask this person a good possible point on the value of puppies, he comes up with a reason why your point is wrong, and furthermore, stupid. He begins to work himself into your mind so that whenever you think of a good idea, you don’t breathe a word for fear that this friend will snap down on you.
And because of that, you still think of puppies, but never tell anyone or act upon it.
Every day you’d walk past a pet store, or a training school, or TVs showing a dog show, sighing and holding this puppy-love in.
And because this person’s opinion mattered to you so much, you don’t ever act upon what makes you happy.
Now, imagine the person who said that terrible thing was you.
You are your own worst critic. In fact, you may have originally been friendlier to yourself. It’s likely many people in your life began creating an ‘inner critic’ for you– one who’d take care of their “emotionally beat-down-Sombra” job while they were absent in your life. People who were so fearsome that the last thing you wanted to do was upset them.
So, it’s quite possible that all this fear and down-talk you give yourself is something you’ve adopted out of fear, or even repetition by people you knew.
If you’re going to change yourself, you must challenge all of the assumptions you’ve made about yourself. BELIEVING THEM HAS GOTTEN YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY– UNHAPPY.
ARE You truly shy? DO you want to be happy? IS your shyness out of fear? ARE you really a screw up? DO my words make more sense if you start wiggling around in your perceptions? Is there meat to these words?
Being Yourself means you attract people who approve of what you do
Imagine in the previous example that you gave up this trusted friend, because her (since she’s you) words had frightened you into giving up something you loved. Imagine you gave up this friend because she never respected the ‘shades of grey’ in life by making a vitriolic stereotype about puppy-lovers.
Imagine that you gave up the trusted friend and began embracing your love for puppies.
So you begin working at a dog shelter. You begin supporting donation drives with the local pet stores. You begin talking to pet owners and drive local donations towards the shelter.
In all this, people see your passion for puppies. They see the care that drove you to this in the first place. Those who are moved by this begin to appreciate you and trust you with friendship opportunities.
In all this, people who are irritated by their own prejudices and assumptions get pissed at you. (maybe puppy-haters?). Because you gave up the old ‘friend’, you realize that trying to garner the favor of these people is fruitless. It’s fruitless because they are already reacting to you based on their presumptions of puppies, and not you.
Now, imagine in the above example, the love isn’t for puppies– it’s a love for women’s rights. Imagine it’s possibly even a love for tattoo artistry. All of a sudden, puppies seems racier, and anger/prejudice towards them seems more likely.
But more importantly, imagine the love for puppies is actually a love for yourself, and what you enjoy doing..
The only mind/soul around that’s willing to believe in the body and mind you inhabit.. is you. If you’re lucky, you already have friends and family who care more about you than prejudices.
And, if you continue to believe in yourself and your potential and value, you will find others who agree with it. You’ll also find others who will spurn and scorn you– but these people would not be pleased if you tried to please them, either.
However, the above is a self-regulating system. If you do what makes you happy and are willing to frustrate/let go of the people who hate what you do, you will be kicking the bad people out of your life and finding the good ones.
This applies everywhere, even in the workplace. (The best you can do is hope that coworkers can handle your respect, OR that you hire your company’s employees in line with your values.)
No metaphorical story here.
My suggestions for getting ahead of the game is to do the first thing: forgive yourself.
The longer you hold onto these perceptions of yourself, the longer they can remain applicable to define and constrain you.
So, forgive yourself.
Next, Begin taking the above re-assessment in your mind when you talk to yourself, or when you begin reacting the ways you did.
That means that when you manage to shake the bars of the cage that contain you (EG: “I’m ugly”, “I”m shy”, “I”m a failure”), begin shoving harder. Shove harder whenever you talk about yourself.
“Sorry if I seem a bit awkward. I used to be really shy and awkward, but I’m climbing my way out of it.”
“I can make mistakes, but who doesn’t? Forgive me, and the next thing I work on will have less mistakes. I’m sad but accepting that I made a mistake.”
One final note. People are very, very versatile creatures. We always have tools to help ourselves out.
Create a tool that you can use to help you climb out of this self-deprecating hole.
A bracelet to commemorate your decision?
A bow around your finger?
A daily affirmation?
Wrapping yourself in blankets, then emerging from them to music as if they represented a metaphorical emerging from a cocoon?
Decide a ritual or tool that has some emotional feeling for you, and use it to affirm you’ve made the decision to forgive yourself, respect that you need dignity for your likes, and be human.