If you’re an empath, introvert, anything like me, or all of the above I’ve got a practice for you. It’s easy to quickly wrap ourselves in what others may or may not be thinking of us. We violently thrust ourselves into downward spirals of hypothetical what-ifs. But, we must keep in mind that our roles in the lives of those around us hold equal weight to their’s in our own, and choose to live in self-awareness.
The What-Others-Think Identity
For years of my life I thought that my identity only existed in the minds of other people. Who I was relied completely upon a carefully crafted persona for each person I met. As a result, I diluted my actual self with these other versions surfacing around certain people.
Coming to that kind of self-awareness is frightening but incredibly valuable. You begin assessing each decision and action to find its root. Some things you may do because you want to, others because you believe it’s what the people around you want.
Dissect all of your choices and follow the route that aligns most with who you want to be. These might change daily and that’s okay. We put far too much pressure on ourselves to remain consistent with interior and exterior characteristics. However this ignores the purpose of life itself: to adapt.
Becoming better than you were yesterday requires change, allow it.
Re-Evaluate Your Perspective
In the midst of a, “what do they think of me” spiral I had an interesting thought. It seems irritatingly simple, but hear me out. You are a person too.
You’re probably thinking, “well obviously,” and you’re right. This is very obvious, but an important reminder nonetheless. Realize that your actions, feelings, and presence hold the same weight to others as their’s does to you. We get so caught up in what other people make us feel that we forget we make them feel things as well.
You’re capable of summoning the same emotions in others that they give to you.
Someone else gets just as nervous to text you, equally annoyed by the way you chew your food, and similarly infatuated with your presence. We aren’t some unique outlier in the game of emotional cause-and-effect.
Other people are not only deserving of your full, unfiltered contribution to relationships, they crave it. We all feel the same things about other people that they feel about us, just on varying timelines and intensities.
The Old Adage
The golden rule, we all know it. Treat others how you want to be treated. This idea takes on new meaning when you create the aforementioned “I’m a person too” mindset of self-awareness.
Your actions and their effect take on new meaning and weight. They become tangible as you sculpt a newfound sense of self-awareness. This both validates and checks your existence and subsequent actions within it. Take full advantage of the positivity you contribute. Feel good about yourself and the ways you make others feel good too.
Note the antithesis as well. When you lash out, the scars remain. Pain isn’t a one-way street only leading to you. You’re fully capable of delivering the blows as well. Keep this in mind and act accordingly, with care.
Feel everything with wild abandon. Ultimate freedom. Realizing you affect others as much as they affect you, allows you to be yourself completely. You realize that you would want authenticity from those around and, using the above logic, you must therefore be authentic as well.
Let go of who you think others want you to be by embracing that they want you to be you. This shift will attract all that you’re looking for in relationships while simultaneously exposing your best traits as you release the pressures of expectation.
Everything becomes much easier, you’re finally free to surround yourself with the right people, and be the right version of yourself as well.
Give yourself unconditional permission to feel what you really are feeling. When you act in anger, know the root is sadness. When you cling to those who aren’t good for you, know the root is loneliness. Through acknowledging our actual feelings, we can begin attract those who are meant to be in our lives.
Such a simple reminder of our personhood altered my perspective greatly. Realize the impact you have on others, and the potential within unaltered authenticity. Be the best version of yourself, be you.
Also published on Medium.