Remember who You Wanted to Be?
By: Danae Bergman, LICSW,CMHS
Deep self-reflection, introspection, and boredom can lead us to be the person we remember wanting to be. Albert Einstein’s favorite saying, ”Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value,” references just that.
Many of us equate success with some idealized dream consisting of material wealth, and popularity; setting ourselves up for disappointment. Gaining a sense of inadequacy, instead, as we see others surpass us; with their popularity and wealth.
At some point in our lives, we knew who we wanted to be. Our inspiration, reflective of that influence; that shook us like no other. That glimpse into a life never before experienced, or an unexpected opportunity, made its temporary mark on us.
Our memories of that glimpse or opportunity faded away, in the busyness of our everyday life.
Who has time to think about values formulated on that which once inspired us; when our existence is not dependent on it?
And then, Covid-19 happened; alarming every previously attained belief, causing us to shift our reality.
Making survival the goal and fear the motivation.
Since our nervous system can only handle so much “flight or fight”; we settle and adjust to our new normal. We definitely don’t have any time now to think back to that which once inspired us; for we are in a state of survival.
If we observe, ourselves going thru these motions, we can see a never ending cycle of regret followed by grief, motivated by irrational fear.
Observing ourselves, however, seems greatly in-opportune during a pandemic. Should we really be paying attention to what we are doing? How we are reacting? Who we are influencing?
The answer is yes; but our brain says otherwise. And before we know it, we are engaged in a battle with ourselves justifying the need to push away any influence unrelated to survival; discarding hope, and the illusion of being our best selves.
Eventually, monotony sets in, creating a different shift.
Now we are bored, our routines become repetitive and lack challenge, our sense of achievement is downgraded and suddenly, there’s possibility for a new perspective.
When our drive shifts from survival, our disintegrated thoughts can actually influence new neuron pathways; allowing for a new narrative to be created.
Yes, we can most definitely create a new narrative. Humans are the only species in the animal kingdom, that can actually do this. A deer cannot choose to be more like a mouse; that we know off; but a human can most definitely decide to be more or less of anything.
As humans, we can reinvent ourselves and within weeks, those surrounding us will likely not remember much about who we were, before we reinvented ourselves.
Society is forgiving in that way, mostly due to self absorption, but forgiving none-the-less.
Our insecurities may say otherwise; but nothing is really stopping us from creating a life we love.
If we were once influenced to become who we are, we can most certainly achieve this again.
If our motivation is no longer driven by fear, and our intentions are reflective of that which inspire us; who could we be? Could we really be the person we once wanted to be?
Could we really achieve living the life we love?
I say yes!
By observing our communication patterns, and our behavioral reactions, we can begin to learn which pattern is no longer serving its purpose.
At some point in our lives, we may have learned to communicate with others in a way that did not reflect our intentions. If our insecurity got in the way, it is likely, that we misinterpreted a reaction, causing us to react in ways we now acknowledge are incompatible with who we really are.
What variable do we change so that our reaction changes?
What reaction would have been more in sync with who we want to be? Why are we relying on this perception being an absolute?
The first step to every problem is acknowledging there is a problem to solve. Then, selecting a specific variable of the problem to work on. We work on changing this variable by having measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-framed goals.
For example, if we are unsatisfied with the lack of supportive friends we have in our lives; we can create a simulated pattern (as illustrated above) and make concrete conclusions. This will then lead us to identify the variable that is impacting the end result.
We work on each variable the same way, and typically start with the one, we have the most control over.
In the example illustrated above, it is insinuated that the end result=reaction; and that this reaction is influenced by three different variables. 1. Our perception. 2. Our understanding of who we are. And 3. The driving force.
In this example, Our Perception could be the variable we feel we have the most control over. We would then identify what aspect of this perception could be improved?
If we are perceiving that people are uninterested in what we have to say, and feel this is an absolute; perhaps achieving the perception that some people may be interested in what we have to say; could be the concrete goal. (specific).
We would then create opportunities to notice that there are some people interested in what we have to say.
By observing others’ interest in what we are saying we are creating a new perception.
In a short time, our perspective shifts from “No one is interested in what we are saying,” to“huh, some people are really interested in what we have to say”.
If we are now perceiving that there are going to be some people that really enjoy our rhetoric, our perception of the people we are associating with. changes, as does our reaction.
Our understanding of who we are also shifts with this information.