Now that we understand the importance of focusing on being ourselves (read Don’t Just Be Yourself, Make It Your Focus), how can we achieve and maintain that focus throughout our daily life?
Below I have written some ideas that you can adapt and change to suit yourself. After all, no one else can teach you how to be you! It requires internal reflection and exploration, self-learning, and a fair amount of diligence.
It is common to seek the approval of others, especially those we look up to. We sometimes end up making different life choices in order to please those people, but If we focus on pleasing others we might not please ourselves. It is important to find a balance, when we focus on fulfilling our own desires and aspirations that should please those who love us too.
Don’t wait for the OK to be yourself, take your life into your own hands and start making the choices that bring you greater joy.
Ask yourself: “Who do I seek approval from? Why?” “If I wasn’t seeking their approval, how would I choose to act? What life decisions would I make?”
In subtle ways we filter our personality around others, this is a self-enforced limitation that only allows certain aspects of ourselves to show through. Sometimes censorship is necessary, the old saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all” comes to mind, but other times we simply do it because we think our personality may not be accepted by others.
Take time to reflect each day. Identify and write down the ways you censored yourself and start to take notice of when those happen in the moment. Whenever you notice a censoring thought, pause and reflect on why it came about. Learn what triggered that internal censorship and then relax and express what you felt should be censored.
Ask yourself: “In what way could I have embodied more of myself today?” “When I was with others today, did I censor myself? In what ways?” “How would I have acted without the censors?” “What does this censor tell about myself? What beliefs are behind it?”
This is crucial to the maintenance of focus. By learning what leads us astray, we can consciously pass over the distractions the next time they arise. This is not to say that we should ignore other people, only that we should not place filters on ourselves because of how we perceive their thoughts. Second layer perceptions are twice removed from reality: “I think they think I am…” When we think about what other people might be thinking it is easy to get lost in thought.
Stay grounded in yourself by being yourself right now, stop imagining what others could be thinking of you and instead act on the present. You are not who you were yesterday, you are who you are right now.
Ask yourself: “When did my focus shift to what other people think today?” “What situations, actions, or events precipitated the shift?” “Who did my focus shift to? Why?”
Judgement can be harsh and sometimes crippling, but only if we succumb to it. We need not apologize for pursuing a way of life that is satisfying and uniquely our own. If people are offended by the way we look, act, or think, that is their issue. Even if we change for them, they still may never be satisfied, we cannot control the way other people act.
The way you choose to be, as long as it does not have a direct adverse affect others, is totally your call.
Ask yourself: “Who’s judgment did I allow to affect myself today? Why?” “Did I change myself for that person? How?”
This is a massive subject and this piece is just the beginning, entire books can be written on this matter. What do you think would help in the pursuit of being one’s self?
I’m an Empowerment Coach here to help you expand your potential by releasing limitations that are holding you back.
Integrity Health is a franchise company residing in New Hampshire. We specialize in health coaching centers combining fitness with weight loss to optimize and promote optimal health. We are also the national purveyors of the EZCOACH Fitness Prescription System licensed by fitness professionals.