You're Born an Original, Don't Die a Copy – John Mason
Have you ever lied about an odd hobby you have? Or maybe your job or your position at work? How about your height or weight? Education or maybe are? Or even just avoided putting yourself in a situation in which you knew you were likely to fail? Why did you do that?
I’m going to spare you some time. The short answer is because you were embarrassed. Deep inside you have made a choice that revealing the truth will endanger your want for acceptance. It clearly comes from trying to control how other people perceive you. So instead of just showing the world who you are, you say you yourself ‘I don’t want people to think I’m a nerd’ and you pretend to be someone else.
Conform to your standards
The same process plays out with mistakes that we’ve made, areas in which we’re weak and areas in which we might get publicly rejected. We hide what we don’t want people to know about us. We conform to what other people would like us to be. The only standards you should conform to, are your standards
But it doesn’t have to be the answer because there is another more empowering mindset. Instead of focusing on other people’s perceptions and feeling embarrassed about what they may think, focus on whether or not you live up to your own values. If you really value your own opinions, don’t try to hide who you are no matter what anyone else thinks of it.
Have you ever had crush that you have never asked out? Maybe you have one right now? Focusing on other people’s perceptions of you will stop you dead in your tracks. After all, what if other people found out and laughed at you for getting turned down? But what if you instead focused on your own values like doing the courageous thing or being honest even when it’s uncomfortable? You would ask that person out. Now maybe you would go on a date, maybe you wouldn’t but either way you’d have lived up to your own values and no matter what anyone else said or did you could feel proud of yourself.
Living up to your values
The point is when you focus on living up to your own values you never have to feel embarrassed again. It doesn’t matter whether you trip with a tray full of dinners in front of 100 people (yes, I did that), get fired from a job or get blown off by a girl or a boy that you like. None of that staff is pleasant but you don’t need the double penalty of being embarrassed by those things. Your attempts to live up to your values are all that matter. If there is something to be fixed or corrected simply do that and move on.
You will not be able to change or control everything and as soon as you realize it, life will get a lot easier. If you have traits that embarrass you whether it’s your looks, your heights, your age, you have to accept it. Even though you might not like something about yourself own it. You will immediately feel relied when you accept yourself the way you are.
Not an excuse
Now this isn’t an excuse to simply give up on improving yourself in the name of self-acceptance. Some things are worth a moment of embarrassment because they remind us that we’re not living up to our values. In the case of maybe having fallen out of shape a moment of embarrassment is worth it to get you back to a healthy lifestyle. The point is to get clear on your values then live in line with them.
Let other people’s perception of you by just their opinion not yours. Now this doesn’t mean you ignore other people completely to the point of becoming a self-absorbed narcissist. But remember you won’t be able to please everybody. When you take feedback from others focus on doing the right thing rather than the thing that pleases them. Stop trying to control the opinions of strangers. Instead, figure out your values and live by them. Be yourself all the time regardless of the audience. Make mistakes, fail publicly, get laughed at you’ve got nothing to lose and as long as you’re trying to do the right thing, you’ve got no reason to ever feel bad about it. Own your screw-ups, your weirdness, your unpopular actions and you are free.
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