You know that some people will love you and accept what you say; while others will hate you and reject you for the same reason. Too often we allow the people who will hate what we have to say to dictate whether you share what is on your mind. If you want to accept yourself, you need to express yourself on a more consistent basis.
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Having an identity crisis
You are going to struggle with the idea that you want to be accepted for who you are, but you are not comfortable sharing who you are. Overtime, you have taught yourself to silence your true self. You learned that being “exciting and different” were not appreciated at a young age. Instead, you learned to conform to the norm of society. School curriculum is designed to teach to the average and as a result, we stifle the most creative. I often wonder if Albert Einstein would be seen as brilliant or mentally challenged by today’s standard. I question whether he and other brilliant people would be discouraged from their greatness.
There are studies that show the over prescribing of ADD medicine. The spike took place around the same time that school funding was tied to the performance of children. There are several carve-outs for reasons that a child’s score will not count in the overall performance of the school; and one of those carve-outs is an ADD diagnosis. Among those children diagnosed with ADD, only a small portion of them needed the medicine. The rest could have received effective behavioral training and mindfulness meditation.
Pretending to be something you are not is harder than it looks
Do you need a coffee break around the end of your work day? It could be because you are making too many conscious decisions. As a result, you are exhausting yourself mentally and it makes it harder to concentrate by the end of the day. What conscious decisions you wonder? Well, every interaction with your coworkers where you are not sharing your true feelings.
Think of it like someone lying to their spouse about where they were on a particular night. Each question requires them to consciously think about the answer. They do not want to contradict themselves, so they can never simply answer the question with their subconscious. Instead, they must always exert the mental energy necessary to make sure they do not incriminate themselves.
Your mind only has a limited number of decision it can make on a given day. If you spend your entire day making decisions that you think will be acceptable to those you work with, you will be mentally exhausted and falling asleep. Just by the simple task of accepting yourself and expressing yourself, you will increase your productivity because you will have more mental energy to exert on your work each day.
Is this the best use of your time?
When breaking the habit of worrying and not accepting yourself, you need to ask yourself, what are you protecting yourself from? More specifically, you are going to ask yourself; (1) what is the worst thing that can happen and (2) how likely is it to happen? Once you can answer these two questions, make sure you are focusing your time things that are likely to happen and have a significant impact.
If the worst thing that can happen is you lose a relationship, then that is not something to worry about. Of course, you don’t want to be a jerk and do something that will purposely damage your relationship, but at the same time, you don’t want to create a prison for yourself either. Another way of looking at this is if someone says something that you don’t like and you don’t tell them because you know it will cause an argument, then you will continue hearing things you don’t like. You have two choices:
- Your life will be easy now if you continue to be silent but it will be hard later (because they are still in your life).
- Your life is hard now because you expressed your true feelings, but it will easier later because those people will be out of your life
It is important to make sure you are not making decisions based on short-term satisfaction that will have long-term consequences. The people in your life should accept you for who you are. You should never choose someone else’s opinion of you before accepting yourself.
Accepting yourself is about what you are gaining
Have you ever seen one of those game shows where someone has the choice between taking home $50,000 or risking it all to have an opportunity at $1M? Most people naturally focus on what they are losing, even though they have the opportunity to gain so much more.
You have to change the way you judge the situation. It is not a question of what am I losing, it is a question of what are you gaining? By accepting yourself and expressing yourself, you are gaining happiness. You are gaining meaningful relationships and you are gaining courage to be who you are. While your mind may want to focus on what you are losing, you are gaining so much more.
The people in your life
People are in your life for different reasons and seasons. There are going to be people in your life because you went to the same High School. Then when you graduate from high school, you will not communicate with most of those people ever again. There are people in your life because you work at the same place and when you change jobs, you will no longer maintain that relationship.
The relationships that are heavily tied to geographical location are easier to reconcile, but there are people in your life due to a similar mindset. If you smoke and decide to stop smoking, you may find it difficult to maintain the same relationship with that person who still smokes. Friends who you regularly hung out with when you were single are no longer viable options now that you are married with kids. It could even be a mindset shift from corporate work to entrepreneurship that separates you from your friends.
What can a tree teach you about growth?
This is not a bad thing as much as it is a necessary thing. It means you are growing and as you grow, your relationship will need to adjust accordingly. There is an analogy I like to use where you compare your growth to the inner rings of a tree. If you have ever seen the inside of a tree trunk, you know there is a circle in the middle and rings that circle from the middle. Each of us starts in the middle circle and as we grow, we expand from the innermost ring out.
If you grow one ring a year, but your best friend grows one ring every two years, then you are going to drift further apart over time. The mistake plenty of people make is they feel guilty and slow their own growth to maintain the relationship. You have to accept yourself and allow you to be yourself around others. If you have to slow your growth in order to maintain a relationship, then that relationship is not worth keeping.
Accepting yourself and accepting how that impacts others
A part of your ability to accept yourself and be happy is being aware of the impact your beliefs have on others in your life. We are not simply going out there screaming at everyone – “this is me and you need to deal with it”. We are simply saying, “these are my beliefs and these are the actions I’m going to take based on my beliefs”. Then you need to be at peace with the fact that everyone is not going to agree with you. They simply need to accept your differences and respect you as a human being. If for some reason your differences are a deal breaker, then let’s go ahead and cut ties before things get ugly.
Because things getting ugly is ultimately what happens when you stay in a relationship too long. We often find that people are in our lives for a season; and some of those seasons are short, while others are long. You have had a point in your life where you should have changed congregations, ended that relationship or found another job. You persisted because you were holding on to the way things were and hoping things could get there again. However, they didn’t and things got worse and before you knew it, that toxic relationship had the ability to drastically alter the trajectory of your life. And it’s all because you stayed there a little too long; because you weren’t willing to accept yourself and prioritize your feelings and values.
It is too easy to hide your beliefs and not accept yourself. It is very difficult to change or alter another person’s beliefs so they will accept you. When you find a fundamental difference between you and someone else, you must be willing to let that relationship go. Don’t sacrifice your love for yourself to be accepted by any person or group. If you do, you will create a prison of people who don’t accept you and you don’t like them. Be true to yourself and you will draw the right people towards you and repeal the wrong people away.
Until next time,
Dre “Better Self, Better Wealth” Griggs