Change can be frightening, but it's only natural for it to occur in our lives. How to stay true to yourself through all these?
The only thing we can do is to monitor and shape it.
Our society is an example of what happens when we don't keep a close eye on change. It becomes volatile, hence the constant chaos we have to cope with daily. The only way it seems to overcome it is to hop aboard and ride with it.
But no, there's a better solution and it is being true to yourself.
Uncontrolled change introduces you to an unfamiliar life dictated by popular trends which is also a free invite to depression and other negative feelings and thoughts.
What does it mean to stay true to yourself?
Related: How To See Yourself In A New Light
It means resisting the urge to change because the world demands it.
We keep our lives intact unless changing would bring an uptick in growth. It's the best way to navigate through uncertainties and rewards us with our most fulfilling life.
The Consequence of Uncontrolled Change
This reminds me of the unfortunate story of Tilikum. He was the largest orca held in captivity by marine entertainment firm, SeaWorld.
He died 2017 after a long battle with illness but his death would go on to spark a new movement to stop sea animal captivity.
Tilikum was caught in 1983 when he was 2 years old. Ever since then, he lived to entertain people. But something unusual happened in 2010 that wasn't really unusual.
He killed one of his trainers.
It wasn't unusual because this had happened before on two other occasions – one in 1991 and the other 1999.
But even then, his trainers didn't hate him. In a way, they weren't surprised and understood its aggression.
They worked to make him something he wasn't; to be a source of entertainment rather than a scary apex predator.
Separated from family, confined, and suffered bullying from the other matured whales when he came, Tilikum was mentally unstable and depressed. But most of all, he was a stranger to himself.
His death sparked a revolution that led to the freedom of the others held in captivity.
This is similar to what'll happen to us when we don't live the way we want.
To avoid them, the simple solution is to remain true to yourself and not be easily influenced to be different unless it's advantageous.
I'm going to outline ways you can do just that:
Control Your Attitude
Attitude is the mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and disposition to act in certain ways says one dictionary.
That's a lot of and's, right?
It simply describes our current frame of mind, or reaction to an action or happenings around us.
Experiences heavily affect them like what happens when situations aren't favorable.
We could react in two ways:
- resort to whining to our SO or friends
- accept these things happen and look to handle them appropriately.
We have power to choose our reactions, but choosing to react negatively would complicate the situation even further.
The second case settles our minds and we can use that to find solutions.
But if life is good, we feel positive and it radiates. This made Keith Harrell in his book, Attitude Is Everything, to bluntly and simply state that attitude is life.
You might disagree but you can see where he's coming from.
For every build up to a win or a loss or to a joyful, sad, or stressful moment, our attitude is involved in one way or the other.
He further stated that our attitude dictates whether we're living life or life is living us. When we're living life, it means we're living it on our own terms. We dictate our day and how we respond to both negative and positive stimuli in the best way possible.
But when it's living you, anything and anyone can influence you. You're thrown into chaotic phases of insecurity and low self esteem.
And this happened because you failed to exert your power to choose.
Our type of attitude determines whether we take action or stay put. It could cripple your identity or raise it even higher.
How do you react to stress? I react awfully to it, especially when I'm stuck.
That's then but I'm changing that.
What of insecurities? How do you react to them?
You've probably failed a number of times. What did you do then?
These situations put us in a tight spot and makes it difficult to react positively. But we need to take control and always choose positivity.
Lucky for you, if you want to know how then Harrell's book would help you immensely. What's more, it even helps us convert our attitude into action.
I'm not saying you should always be compassionate towards yourself. Tough love is necessary.
But too tough and you'll break.
Related: How To Overcome Stress
Structure Your Life
A life plan is a structural map for the future. It helps you to discover your life goals and plan how to attain them.
You define 3 concepts:
- Your ideal life
- Your core values and habits
- Your action points
Society doesn't have a well-defined structure that's why it's shaky, so we need ours to thrive.
With a purpose, a growth lifestyle is easier to maintain. But if that isn't unique enough, then you'd hit a wall soon.
Everyone aims to improve, but you can go one better and make yours peculiar enough that you can deeply identify with it.
Your purpose directs your focus and the more narrow it is, the more fixated your mind will be. With definitive goals, you would get what you want because you know what to do.
So that's why I would tell you to have life goals.
Why life goals?
They're the most important goals of your life and if you don't attain them, then you won't be satisfied. Nothing would help you stay true to yourself as much as your most cherished goals.
Also, since a life plan focuses on building the life you want, goals alone won't be enough. The next thing would be your core values and habits.
Core values are principles and behaviors we abide by. Sometimes, they go unnoticed but they dictate how we choose to live.
If we list them out, then we'd be more aware of them and adhere to it.
Meanwhile, our core habits are what builds us up and gives us knowledge and skills. They could be our interests, work specific skills or hobbies that help us achieve a form of improvement.
From there, you create action points which would help you achieve them.
All this help us live our life because we outline who we expect to turn up as in the future.
We think we know a lot about ourselves but what we know is probably just the surface. There are deeper knowledge and facts we can gather.
The aim of knowing yourself is to gather bit parts so you can form a holistic replica. Your habits, favorite types of books, and default mood are some of the pieces you'd be collecting.
But what we don't know is that we can go deeper and look into what triggers our default mood or habits or even create scenarios in our head and guess how we would react to them.
You can then study this replica for your benefit.
This is a great avenue to discover some of your strengths and weaknesses. Our strengths are what keeps us going and helps us to achieve our goals while our weaknesses hinder it.
Learn what you're proficient at to hone and utilize them. This would boost your confidence. The other – that's our weaknesses – should be looked at to find ways to improve or eliminate them.
They're your weak spots and they constantly compromise your identity.
When we envision ourselves, we leave out the bad parts because we don't approve of them. If we included them, we feel worthless and our self esteem takes a big knock.
But if we never acknowledge them, then we won't do anything about them.
Mind you, you can never be a 100%, but you can make the effects of your collective strengths much much greater than that of your weaknesses.
There are various ways to know yourself. This blog post will help you on that journey.
You could even use these simple and straightforward questions to go deeper into the real you.
Criticism Isn't An Attack
People love to talk – even if they don't speak out loud, their minds do. And no matter what you do, someone would form an opinion of it whether what you did was good or bad.
This brings us to the two types of criticism:
- destructive criticism
- constructive criticism
Destructive criticism are just words served to bring you down. They pack a punch but there's no truth to them. Many normally resort to these when they feel threatened or envious of someone.
They would say all manner of hateful words just to make you seem like you're not good enough.
Unlike destructive criticism, constructive ones are dished out to positively enhance you – and yes they carry weight too. Depending on how it was delivered, our perception of them can vary.
So the golden rule for reacting to critics is to not react. Depending on how we perceive it, we may react badly.
In situations like these, emotions normally trump logic and when that happens, we explode.
Don't Take Every Advise Or Criticism As A Personal Attack.
Loved ones and even some neutrals have observed you and found some concerning behaviors or attitudes. They bring it to your notice so you can do something about it because they don't want it affecting you later on.
We need to bag our reactions to avoid chasing away these people and crushing our ego even further.
But the thing is how can we determine which criticism is bad or good for us?
A strong mind has the uncanny ability to think over thoughts but discard them whenever it wants. We need to develop one to be able to collect people's words and ponder over them.
If you're honest with yourself, you can sift through what was said and find those that are true without them affecting you.
Stay true to yourself yet always be open to learn and change for your good.
People are one of the best ways to know yourself (remember this?) because we observe a lot. There's a funny saying that once you've got neighbors, you don't need security cameras. You have quite a good number around!
Although they don't function in the traditional sense, but you get the joke.
They see things we fail to notice about ourselves. Although they might present it in a way we don't like, we still need to listen.
Criticism would always be a part of life so you need to be able to take it like a boss.
Learn To Take The Heat (Acceptance)
Finally, when we're able to accept who we truly are or want to be, we'd break new grounds.
It's the most important tip you need if you want to live a life true to yourself.
When we give our assent to what we want to do, we remove all form of resistance from our mind.
Wanting to be authentic can prove difficult. Your mind would reject it instantly.
There's temptations everywhere that'll seduce you to join them. Your old life would pop its head to toy with your feelings and moods.
We may lose some friends, good moments, habits we loved doing and more. It makes us uneasy.
But when we accept the path we've set ourselves on, we would willingly hold on to it.
Acceptance is a continuous process. It's up to us to continuously assent to our plans which would strengthen our resistance.
Accept the new life you want to create and you'd will your mind to go for it.
The main reason why we don't live a life true to ourselves is because we want to belong.
It's the feeling of being left out or behind that scares us into submission. We want to feel part of something relevant, so we think going out of our way to be like others would give us that.
This is bad because we would never find satisfaction and it'd create bigger problems for us.
But it can be avoided when you practice the tips above. It's the best investment you can make in your life.
I strongly believe this ultimate guide on how to stay true to yourself will help you do just that!