Nobody Can Define You

Me, some 20 years ago.

Ever been told by someone else to stick to one thing or another? Ever been told that doing something is just not you?

Ever been told that “you’ve changed?” Did you notice that it usually had to do with changing something about yourself in a way that others could no longer understand? Or predict? Or influence?

Ever felt trapped by other people’s opinion of you? Ever felt misunderstood? As if what you knew you were would dissipate into the surrounding environment?

Yeah, I’ve been there.

But how do you go about it? How do you go about being you while still living up to other people’s expectations?

Every single time I tried something new, my friends and family would usually laugh in a not so amused or friendly way and tell me that I couldn’t. It wasn’t me. When I decided to start working out, for fear of one day dissolving into thin air. When I decided to self-publish novels, when I decided to start this blog, or a YouTube Channel.

They tried to tell me who I was and wasn’t, and that it was best to stay the same.

I smiled and nodded and did what I wanted to do anyway, while boiling a bit inside. I define who I am.  And yes, I care a lot about what people think, but their opinions know nothing about my wants and needs. They don’t even take them into consideration.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And people who preferred the slow agony of comfort zones over the excitement and unpredictability of stepping outside those comfort zones. 

I’ve never been much of a fan of letting anybody — whether the media, my friends, or my haters — define who I am.

Yes, I have done mistakes. Plenty of them. I miscalculated stuff. I was lazy, complacent, and a bunch of other stuff. I hardly ever apologize for them. But those were my mistakes to make, because this is my life, and no one else gets to live it but me.

So, please, if there’s one thing you ever take from reading my posts, it should be this: never let other people define who you are.

If you’re a lawyer, but you really want to be a food blogger, go do that. If you’re a medic who wants to be a singer, then you’d better get to working out those vocal chords. Never give up on something you want because of how someone else tells you your life should be like.

Go all in. You only have one life, and there’s only one way to go about it that reflects that.

I was this sickly little boy. Spent my first six or seven birthdays in the hospital. I’d always get sick around Christmas. I almost died a few times. I’d bruise easily. My parents tried to protect me from getting hurt, which only meant that I’d get hurt by things that didn’t make much sense.

I believe that mental discomfort is one of the most serious issues a person can face. I also believe that it arises solely because a person is not in tune with the realities of the world. For one reason or another, they think the world works in one way when it’s usually the opposite.

I have done my fair share of mistakes. I won’t bother you with the details. I spent most of the time since I started this blog being sick and terrified. You know what every creature does when scared? They become selfish. Mean.

When when the chips are down, when the pressure is on, every creature on the face of the Earth is interested in one thing and one thing only.

Its own survival.

And I’ll be honest with you. Things are not as great as you might be inclined to think. Online popularity is not as great as you might think. After all, we just decided that the most popular photo on Instagram should be that of an egg.

I’m going to put a dent in the universe, because this is what I was born to do. I’m going to put out the best content that I have ever put out. The very best.

How many times did you give up on something you loved because your friends or family thought you weren’t good enough?

How many times did you quit blogging because no one would read your content?

How many times did you feel like giving up when people would fall back on their word, and you were left with a broken dream, a broken smile, and a broken heart? All because of promises that were too easy to break.

When other people say that deciding to work out, or to blog, or to switch careers is not you, all they’re saying is: “I know I should be doing the same thing, but I don’t want to address these issues, I don’t want to follow my dreams for fear of failure.”

They try to talk you out of your dreams because they have already given up on theirs.

No. The only person who can define who you are and what you want is you. No one else. And you need to be self-aware, and play to your strengths and respect your weaknesses. Never limit yourself to what other people think you should be. Have the self-awareness to know what you should be and the guts to do whatever it takes to be that.

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22 thoughts on “Nobody Can Define You

  1. Great post. I think sometimes family are afraid you will change because they’re afraid that they’ll lose you. Some people also seem to think that stopping people from doing something protects them from hurt, when it actually hurts them more.

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  2. This hits differently, because I’ve had and still have people try to define who I am, people who try to live their life through me, even my achievements are disregarded because they are not inline with what they would like me to do. It’s the sad reality of life I guess.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  3. A most thoughtful and encouraging post. I followed my dream and started writing. I’m glad I did. Not because I’m earning loads, I’m not! But I enjoy it.
    Oh, and I just checked the settings for people I follow. Many (most?) had gone to not receiving messages when you post. I’ve now sorted it.

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  4. And this is the type of blog that is successful – I’m sorry I don’t agree with your earlier post about lists and things being successful – I think articles that resonate with me are those which have the common grain of sense and shared human experience running through them. Sometimes they’re not even well written – a couple of lines – but there is that truth thread that lies behind and when I pull the string it unravels. This is the sort of post I love. Such lovely words.

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  5. I can relate. I am an introvert, and I have anxiety, so people tend to think I am scared of everything. When I decided to move out and live alone, my own brother said I can’t do it. But I did it anyway and proved him and everyone wrong.

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