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It's up to you, not them

Updated on April 24, 2014

No More Excuses

I will be the first to admit that I am an extremely flawed individual. I have made more than my fair share of astonishingly horrible choices. Does that make me a terrible human being? Personally, I do not think so, but there are always going to be others that will label me by some poor decisions I made rather than by my true character. It cannot be helped. Outsiders will see what they want to see. However, no matter what others may see of us, we have the ability to change our circumstances, our mindsets, and our ultimate outcome. No matter how horrible our pasts may be.

Lately, I have been struggling with choices I have made in my life. They haunt me nightly and there are times where I feel as if there is nothing I can do about it. Even though these choices are in the past, (and will continue to) they will forever be a part of who I am today. I struggle with how to use those choices and consequences for the better of my future without letting them define who I am today.

Time and time again, I have left it up to those around me to define who I am. I’ve listened to opinions, judgments, and beliefs of others. I listened to the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not only did I listen, I believed them and used what they said to define myself. I thought that if this is what other’s see, then it must be what or who I am.

It has taken me quite some time to realize that others only see a fraction of who I am. And what they do see, is what I choose to show them. Again, that could be good, bad, or ugly. I cannot completely blame someone else for having an opinion that I do not agree with. Situation, circumstance, mood, and behaviors all play a part in a judgment from another. However, we must take other’s opinions with a grain of salt because the fact still remains that they do not see or know absolutely everything. They do not know your trials, your triumphs, your history, or your story. We must learn that how others see us is important to a degree, but it is not the end all be all. We must not allow others do define who we are. You and ONLY you know your heart, your intentions, your feelings, your desires, dreams, and circumstance.

We all have something (or multiple things) about ourselves that we do not like. It’s as simple as changing them right? Well, perhaps not. It’s likely that we keep doing the things that we don’t like about ourselves even when we say that we’d like to change them. Is it possible to change then? Absolutely. People can change. It happens all of the time.

We cannot just snap our fingers and bid adieu to our well established and deeply ingrained patterns, even when they may result in negative consequences. Of course it would be wonderful if it were just that easy. I find that I scold myself constantly. “Just stop already Sami!” Yet, I find that I make the same mistake again. We simply cannot “just” change because someone (or ourselves) want us to. It’s a process. It’s trial and error. It’s patience and dedication. Change happens over time with a lot of hard work.

We are a generation of convenience. If we want something, we get it and we get it now. There is no more waiting for anything. So, when it takes a while to get something that we want like changing ourselves, time seems to be our enemy. If it doesn’t happen right this instant, then the opposite stance occurs. We need to learn to chase these demons away that tell us we cannot change, that it’s too hard, that it’s simply not wired in your DNA, or that it requires too much effort. It’s true that you are who you are and that your personality is a certain way. However, behaviors can be altered or modified.

It starts with being aware of behaviors, choices, and traits that you do not like about yourself and that there are reoccurring problems with each one. This may seem pretty obvious, however it’s not. So many of us are used to blaming everyone else for our problems and our shortcomings. Apparently, if you find that you are doing this, you are obliviously unaware of what needs to be happening. How are we ever going to change what we do not like if we’re in constant denial? It’s time to start taking responsibility for our own lives for if we leave our lives in the hands of others, happiness will never be reached.

Self-awareness without judgment, similar to an anthropologist observing behavior in an attempt to understand it, is the first step. Yet, you can be fully aware of your bad habits and still not change. What’s missing? An absolute commitment to change is what’s missing. Casual commitment doesn’t work. It never has. Going on a fad diet for a week won’t change your weight or overall health. It doesn’t help you reach your goals of fitness does it? It comes down to a lifestyle change. In your quiet moment of truth, when you’re alone and not under pressure by anything or anyone, you, your ‘executive’ self makes the choice and swears to commitment. No excuses. No wishing it away. No more self-sabotage. Understand that it will not be easy or handed to you. We simply cannot just wait for something to change for ourselves. Good things don’t come to those who wait, but rather to those who work.

We need to acknowledge the need for self-discipline, perseverance, and hard work. We know why we want to change. We ultimately know who we want to be. We know that our actions need to adhere to our beliefs. We know it makes no sense claiming we want to change, but then doing nothing about it. We’re tired of disappointing ourselves and those around us. We become fed up with feeling frustrated. We all welcome change. It comes down to getting off of our asses and finally taking those steps needed in order to get the outcome we want.

Adopting new ways rarely comes comfortably at first. It’s natural to have those feelings of resistance toward change. However, if you think about change as an opportunity to grow and not as an unwanted burden, amazing things will happen.

Even moderate change can reap meaningful benefits. Change that moves in a positive direction will not only expand your confidence, it can enrich your relationships, enhance your career, and empower your well-being.

For those who feel people cannot change. Take a good hard look into the mirror. Is it possibly that you have been unable to change yourself? That’s quite possibly the reason for your judgments. Anyone and everyone has the capability to change their circumstances. It’s in the power of that individual and only that individual. We need to open our eyes and take responsibility for ourselves rather than ridicule and shame others for their pasts. We all have a past, we all have the right to change, and we all do not want to be judged based on those pasts.

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    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 3 years ago

      "Self-awareness without judgment, similar to an anthropologist observing behavior in an attempt to understand it, is the first step."

      This is mindfulness or living mindfully. In fact, all self transformation must begin with dispassionate self observation. It needs training and constant efforts to be objective. But its gives the best reward.