If we fail to define ourselves, we allow others to define us.
If we allow others to define us, they will judge us by their definition.
My entire life, I've struggled with this concept.
We often get asked the question "who are you"?, which is when we revert to the answer we believe people want to hear. I'm a (insert occupation title). I'm a (insert common identity trait). Something to identify us as worthy. Acceptable. Able to belong within said "group". We sacrifice pieces of who we are, hide behind built up illusions... hoping people SEE us. Yet, what kind of life is that to live? To wake up every single day, striving to matter to other people? Choosing to live by the confines of someone else's opinion, only dims your light within.
I can laugh at the transitions of my life. Over the years, I continuously aimed to stiffle my personality. Always attempting to mold myself into the projections I consumed in the social sphere. Sophomore year of college, my friend told me I was lame for never drinking coffee, so for years I made mugs, while dumping half a cup of creamer and sugar to bare the taste. Because it was cool (which most people still told me I was lame for). Such a small thing, but I felt an innate pressure to be relatable. Or how I let people mistreat me, because I didn't want to lose their companionship. Overlooked and ignored, I often went above and beyond for others, yet I still always felt incomplete.
Though, it was because I was incomplete.
We are all incomplete until the day we realize no one has the power to define who we are. Because truth is, people are not wired to ever accept you completely. Working for the approval of others will be a lifetime journey leading to a dead end. A journey I don't want to look up 50 years from now and realize I lived. We are created to thrive and know within ourselves who we are. We are different in our own ways. Beautiful and capable of things unimaginable. It just depends on how you view yourself. Do you believe what people say you aren't, where you aren't going, or what you can't achieve? Do you give people the power to destroy your day with their doubt, lack of support, or judgement of your past and future? Or do you stare at the reflection in the mirror and see a sea of endless potential? Do you take time to tell yourself you are a fighter and have the strength to power through adversity?
If not, you should. Because you are.
Your life is designed with purpose. You are meant to achieve whatever you set your heart to. You simply have to allow yourself to embrace your real identity. When you do so, your life will begin to reap what you sow into it. Optimism, support, love. Connections with people who don't like your identity might fade away, but that is when you have to understand and accept the changing of life seasons. Living without some is much more important than trying to live with everyone, besides yourself. Stay empowered, know yourself, and live life out loud. As yourself. Because there will always be people who love you for who you are.
Sending love and light always.