If we are not very careful, we can allow ourselves to be defined by others. This is somewhat natural as early in life, we have no other choice. A newborn infant is defined only by need. In that way, we are all the same. From there, mother is the one who defines life for us. She defines boundaries, activities, food, relationships, and so much more. A baby has no control over who they are in the early stages. That is not to say she does not have her own personality. But she is shaped by the inputs she receives.
At some point, it is presumed that we become our own person taking complete possession of ourselves. That never quite happens for many people. They are constantly defined by other people’s expectations and how they live up to them. They are expected to marry a certain type of person, follow a certain type of career, and be a certain kind of person in their community. They are trapped by someone else’s vision – everyone else’s vision besides their own. They have never truly considered who they want to be. If you find yourself in that camp, the good news is that it is never too late to redefine yourself and take full ownership of who you are. Here are a few places to start:
Learn to Play an Instrument
One of the best ways to discover yourself is to discover your inner music. It is not the music you pretend to like because all your friends like it. Your inner music is that which resonates within you when you hear it played aloud. It is the soundtrack of your life inside your head. Learning to play an instrument is a powerful way to tap into it.
If you don’t have any musical background, try learning to play the guitar. It is fun and relatively easy to pick up with the right instruction. Even if your inner musician is the lead guitarist in a band, you would be wise to start with one of the quality acoustic guitars you can only get at a quality music store. Guitars are not that expensive. So you won’t break the bank by getting a good one. You will have a sense of pride in your instrument. You will take care of it better. And you are more likely to commit to learning it because you have some skin in the game. Discover your inner music and learn to play it.
Reevaluate Your Social Life
One of the first steps to rebooting your life is to reevaluate your true, social self. Like your inner music, your true social self is not the person your friends like to have around and invite to parties and see if they can get you to drink too much. You don’t have to pretend to like things you don’t because when you do, you are being someone you’re not. Your true social self might be somewhat of a recluse who really doesn’t like to hang out. Great! Be a recluse. Find your true, social self and embrace who you are.
Don’t Identify with an Identity
You are not your label. There is real harm in labeling others and yourself. The moment you allow yourself to be defined by a label, you become trapped by that label. Furthermore, others can manipulate you and keep you locked into their expectations.
Even if you are a mother, you should not embrace that as a label. Your expectation of what a mother is might be too limiting. You could get in your own way of becoming a CEO. If you manage that lofty height, don’t let it define you, either. It might get in the way of you being the grunge rocker you always wanted to be. You get the idea. Even if flattering, if it sounds like a label, don’t accept it. You will always be more than a confining label.
People change. You change. Redefining yourself from time to time is a way of acknowledging and embracing that change. By finding your inner music, embracing your true social self, and staying clear of labels, you can be anything you want to be