Defining YOU, Part 1 (Video Therapy)

donotallowotherstodefineyouonthevitalitylounge.comIt wasn’t too long ago that our oldest daughter commented to Joel & I about her perceived ‘likeability-factor’. (She is, in fact, incredibly compassionate, fair, caring, kind – and fun-loving! She’s super likeable. BUT… this was a teachable moment. Read on…)

She said something like this…. “EVERYONE in my class really likes me. Except for one girl who only ‘sometimes’ likes me…. But other than that – everybody seems to really like me in school!”

So, my immediate response, without hesitation and with adamant fervor, went like this, “That’s very nice. You ARE very likeable. BUT – NEVER, EVER, EVER let ANYONE else determine your value! EVER!!!!!! You are likeable by GOD – whether other people think so or not. NEVER allow your worth to be determined by the opinions of others. ALWAYS BE SOMEONE YOU LIKE. That is the key. You’ll attract the right people into your life when you are true to yourself, and love and appreciate your own uniqueness, as well as the uniqueness of other people. We are ALL special in our own ways.” – – – Whew! It just came spilling out of me… Joel nodded in agreement, and by the look on his face, he could sense my – um –  passion about the subject.

Now here’s the thing…. This couldn’t have been more timely. My passion about this stems from my own experience. But first – a little background…. I’ve always been pretty self-confident. Even when kids teased in the school days, I was able to let it roll off. I experienced more giggles when making them squirm by NOT reacting to their mean-kid-teasing. I wasn’t about to let those negative, insecure meanies taint my own self-worth. Uh-uh. Nope. I had a secret! I realized that they were only saying these things to deflect their own insecurities. It was their issue, not mine. I simply didn’t allow them to hand me their ‘gift’ (er, issues). But more importantly – I had a positive mindset about being ME – fully. I chose to shine brightly and be myself regardless of what other people thought, or how they reacted. At least to some degree. Back then, I was shy. I felt pressured by all of the ‘shoulds’ in life… I often let fear have too much say over my decisions. So as I grew, and began to come out of my shell, I also began to let go of more and more of those ‘shoulds’ – or expectations, that others were continually placing on me. But all in all – I was happy in my spiritual skin.

Ironically as an adult, I struggled a bit more with the piece about shining fully regardless of others’ perceptions (without even fully realizing it) – particularly when it came to family. Family is supposed to be supportive no matter what. They don’t have to agree, but the support is meant to be there. I realized that I didn’t have this kind of unconditional support from most of my family (as in blood-relatives.) I had endured skewed and purely misconstrued perceptions of who I am at my core – even by close “family” for (too) MANY years. This meant that I often felt a need to defend myself, and justify my choices in life – even if only in an attempt to help them ‘understand’ me. But then I was reminded (by Uni – a term of endearment for the God I believe in – aka: a Universal LOVE-ENERGY) that even this was unnecessary. I don’t need to explain myself to anyone. (Thanks Uni!) I’m a fan of a live-and-let-live approach to life. I may not agree, but I will agree to disagree. I may not even LIKE some people’s choices – but we need this contrast in our lives to determine what we DO value – for ourselves (not for them!) So – my newer outlook has been a focus on appreciation – even for that contrast. And while I in no way “appreciate” or condone the sometimes negative or even evil actions carried out by some people in this world, I also recognize that for the most part – the rest of us are just trying to follow our hearts (which does NOT make us evil!)

More recently, as a 30-something adult, even while logically trying to remind myself that certain people had their own issues (that truly & ultimately had nothing to do with me)  – I still couldn’t fully shake the feeling that I was continually being (harshly & wrongfully) judged by the very support-group I was supposed to be able to depend on. Things came to a head at one point, and I was able to release a lot (I mean, A LOT) of pent-up frustration…. Then – I was also able to forgive them for their judgements & create healthy boundaries. Plus, I had to forgive myself for allowing them to influence me – even if only on a subconscious level. (Because guess what? The subconscious has more pull than our conscious minds – any day.) Plus, I forgave myself for how I reacted & responded to their negativity – with more negativity.

Currently, I’m still in a place of letting go, embracing who I really am, and forgiveness. It’s a bit of a dance, but in any case – this is about BEING TRUE TO OURSELVES, and DISALLOWING ANYONE ELSE’S PERCEPTIONS TO INFLUENCE OUR INHERENT SELF-WORTH. So without going into unnecessary and potentially pot-stirring detail, let’s just say that I’ve always been ‘told’ (and even taunted about) the fact that some people had always perceived me in my youth as a very ‘selfish’,controlling, strong-willed child. For ages, a small part of me believed this could be true… After all, I did used to gravitate toward perfectionism, and things going a certain way, as well as being overly protective of my belongings. And the part about being strong-willed is a definite yes. However, that was merely (and continues to be) simply a choice – to disallow myself to just roll with the flow of others when it doesn’t resonate with me. Yet, a larger piece of me just felt as though portions of these perceptions were hugely misunderstood – namely the ‘selfish’ accusations. (In fact, for a long time I made too many decisions based on others’ perceptions & needs, and avoided acknowledging my own needs – resulting in unnecessary stress, frustration, and a sense of feeling trapped.)

BUT HERE’S THE KICKER…. Although I’ve changed and grown quite a bit over the years, I began to believe, on some subconscious level – that “I must have been pretty selfish as a kid, given the way they describe me/ my childhood…” I started to actually BELIEVE in THEIR crappy perceptions of me! I figured, “They can’t all be wrong… right?” WRONG! They were SO VERY WRONG (about so many things – then, and since then) – that I can’t even stand the fact that I started to believe some of that shizz! *(Many issues & inconsistencies came to light in the midst of that moment when things came to a head.) BUT, here’s the cool part. I am growing and expanding – still – just as we all are. I have come to recognize that I was allowing the opinions of OTHERS to influence my own perception of ME. These opinions were based on their perceived truths stemming from their own idealism, beliefs, & fears – not my inherent intentions or truths.

THANK GOD FOR OLD HOME MOVIES!

This is where the “video-therapy” comes in. I received one of the best gifts ever – from my amazingly supportive and non-judgemental brother (one of my fam members whom I happen to adore). He made everyone a series of DVDs chronicling the early years of our lives – from before birth (fave moments of my parents before our arrival) – through to our teenage years. My dad was quite the sentimentalist – so I owe a lot of this to him as well. He was really consistent – from far-too-long videos of our backyard gardens, to the more monumental milestones & events – we have it all on video! FUN, right?

Well…… I was hoping so – and I was right! BUT – before Joel and I dove into our copies, I was actually hesitant. I said to Joel, “Based on ‘everyone’s’ description of me, I’m a little bit afraid to see myself how I apparently really was as a kid. I know I was a kid – and learning & growing, but I apparently was selfish as hell… I don’t know how it will feel to see myself that way now that I am past that stuff….” He tried to reassure me, since he knows me. (As in TRULY knows me, and accepts me – faults and all.) But guess what – I’m not actually a heartless bitch. Determined to live according to my personal values & joys? YES. Strong willed? Yup. But – not heartless! 🙂

Here’s where it became therapeutic… I was BEYOND pleasantly surprised to see myself in mostly loving, caring, and just plain authentically true-to-self situations on the regular! I found myself saying to Joel – “Gosh, I really don’t seem so bad!” Coupled with a few “WTF?s?” Yes – I was somewhat frustrated that these people managed to create such an exaggerated story about my childhood – because of their own fears about my non-conformist ways, no less… BUT, at this point –  I was ultimately happy and relieved to realize that I was rather kind… and I wasn’t unlike most other kids – growing & learning…. Silly sometimes. Nice, even. It was a real blessing to really be able to take a step back, and truly SEE myself from my current vantage point, and witness something completely the opposite of what I was anticipating.

SO –  now, I’m finally in a place where I’m truly releasing it all… I’m letting it go. I’m forgiving them. I am separating their behavior from the actual soul/ person. And I’m remembering whole-heartedly – that I am ME – based on my core desires and my own ways of showing up in the world…. (not anyone else’s.) We all have different priorities, and the fact that I make JOYFUL LIVING a priority – does not make me heartless or selfish! It makes me REAL. It makes me authentic. It makes me true-to-self. It makes me honor what GOD has put me here for.

TWEET THAT!

Joyful living is not selfish. It's a way of honoring what God has put each of us here for! Click To Tweet

In any case –  those disks helped further the realization that my sense of self didn’t correlate with who THEY (or anyone) has perceived me to be, simply because I didn’t follow in their approach to life. The content of those videos was eye-opening, and extremely FREEING! I was able to fully & truly let go of those twisted and misunderstood perceptions that persisted over many years…. I get to remember what really counts: my own heart’s deep knowing. No one can know you like you know yourself if you remain open to your own inner truth. And for all the times that they’ve chosen not to see me for who I am today, regardless of my behaviors or choices in the past, I realized I was again – truly free. To be me. I know I’m continuing to grow. When others refuse to see that – it is by choice, and nothing I can fix. All I can do then is create a healthy boundary, protect my energy *{Future post coming soon!}*, and remain true to how I’ve been designed to show up in the world.

IMPORTANT DISTINCTION! This is NOT about denying mistakes. This isn’t a situation where I was being ‘mean’ or thoughtless and they were calling me out on it. And while I was admittedly a bit of a anxiety-based “control freak” as a young kid, I’ve grown a lot since then!! I’ve definitely let go of fear, as well as any need for ‘control’ – a very loooong time ago. (Control is merely a perception anyway). *CLARIFICATION* – I still experience fear, but I no longer allow it to dictate my life…. I’ve discovered that it was the fact that I was determined and fought for my own desires, and moved toward freedom, which has so often caused them to feel threatened (all throughout my life). I know I was strong-willed, and often didn’t realize how my choices might affect others at a young age. But there is a difference between this and intentionally hurtful behaviors. There is a great deal of integrity & growth to be had in addressing our mistakes & learning from them. And there is a definite difference between being strong-willed & determined, vs hurtful and bullying.

More than anything – it is about choosing not to blindly adopt or simply accept the perceptions of others as OUR OWN truths. It’s about seeking realities rooted in a love-based truth – rooted in compassion and NON-judgement, and remaining OPEN TO POSSIBILITY! *(Giving people the benefit of the doubt. Recognizing & TRUSTING that there is a lesson and a benefit in everything we experience.) If you remain in your own truth – your choices may not always resonate with others, but that should be okay. We get to decide what we want our truth to look like, and we get to co-create that reality – regardless of whether or not others are open to seeing us for who we really are, as apposed to creating negative stories to justify their choices.

*{THERE’S MORE INSPIRATION ON THIS TOPIC TO COME SOON! If you haven’t subscribed, be sure you do so you won’t miss out. It’s free!} In the meantime………

PRIMARY TAKEAWAYS & LESSONS:

  • Never allow anyone else to influence WHO YOU ARE.
  • Don’t ever allow anyone else to determine how you see YOURSELF.
  • Don’t allow anyone to determine your value/ worth.
  • We don’t have to ‘prove’ ourselves to anyone.
  • Blood doesn’t determine who is ‘family’. Real love determines how we relate to our tribe. There is such thing as chosen family.
  • Just because something is ‘true’ for someone else, does not mean it is necessarily ‘true’ for you. (And vice-versa)
  • Often times our perceptions are a choice. Choose to give people the benefit of the doubt.
  • Acceptance does not mean we have to agree…. It simply means you respect someone for who they are, all the while respecting yourself for who YOU are.
  • We are ALL unique, and have our own intrinsic nature. It doesn’t necessarily make us ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – but it does make us unique and different. And that’s awesome! Be open to the ideals and priorities of others, and be true to your own ideals and priorities. On that same token, we are all interconnected… (So remember to LIVE & LET LIVE.)
  • When people try to force you into a mold, based on their ideals, they are doing so out of fear. Accept that they are where they are, and celebrate the fact that you get to CHOOSE where YOU want to be….
  • It’s okay (and even imperative) to establish and maintain healthy boundaries when someone drains you of your energy. You do not need to be anyone’s doormat.
  • SHINE BRIGHTLY, ALWAYS. Don’t ever let anyone dim your light/ cause you to choose to dim your light. Continue to share your gifts. Don’t allow the fears of others to hold YOU back. Those who will appreciate it will be drawn to you. Those who are fearful and have to hide their own insecurities from that light – will move away. Let them go. You don’t need it. You DO need to stay true to who you are as GOD (Source, Universe, etc) made YOU. HONOR your nature.
  • Remember – we need to remain both soft AND strong – like Love…. (Separate the behavior from the individual, and forgive… Doesn’t mean you condone the behavior. You just get to release their issues for yourself.)

 

While we’re at it, let’s give a nod to a memorable quote by Wayne Dyer:
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”

* Lastly, I want to reiterate that it’s fantastic to be giving and open to sharing – when it stems from your heart – and not coercion, manipulation, or expectation!
And I’m thrilled to remind you that a portion of all proceeds for sales of the Vitality 101: Eat, Sleep, THRIVE, Repeat! e-course series is donated to charitable organizations that I believe in….
GIVING OUT OF A TRUE DESIRE TO GIVE. PAYING IT FORWARD. REMAINING TRUE TO SELF IN THE PROCESS.

BAMA!

LEARN MORE ABOUT MY CLEAN-LIVING E-COURSES HERE!

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2 Responses

  1. […] We’re all continually learning. It’s part of our growth and expansion. I am always eagerly learning new ways to approach life, and embrace my spirituality. I admittedly have to occasionally review my own inspirational realizations and spiritual expansion to truly remember (or as a soul-sister I met online would so accurately state: RE-member – as in – what we already know but sometimes forget) who I am and how that relates to how I show up in the world. We should never allow the perceptions of others to negatively influence our spirit! […]

  2. […] enlightening perspective… From a place of compassion, we develop a deep inner knowing that what they perceive doesn’t have to be OUR truth. Often the misconceptions stem from others’ own inner lacking, and they subconsciously attempt […]

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