Influences; Influences can come from just about anywhere: society, friends, family, culture, background, values, media, family, advertising, religion, you name it!
How many times has a parent or partner told you that your fun-loving immature, yet long time friend, girlfriend, or boyfriend is “a bad influence” and what does that mean? Hold onto that thought…
I consider influences as something that can permeate your thinking and guide your actions – most of the time unconsciously or subconsciously (sub - meaning under the surface of your awareness, unconsciously – meaning unaccessible to your awareness). The scary thing about the subconscious is that it is a magnet to outside influences.
Freud explains this in his psychoanalytical personality theory with the use of an iceberg to be a metaphor for the phenomemon that occurs in a person between the conscious and subconscious desires or ego, superego and id. Essentially, the unconscious messages you receive or pick up by what you do and see and who you surround yourself with, effect how you behave or think, although it’s power is subliminal.This can be represented visually like an iceberg, because only a small portion of the iceberg (the surface characteristics of a person) is visible to an observer above water, the majority of the iceberg however (the unconscious, biological and other factors that influence a person) is actually present underneath the water -- invisible to the naked eye.
Okay, Okay, so what does this mean in terms of me? …. What this means is that even little choices like who you associate with and what you choose to be in your life, watch on TV etc have a bearing on you and how you think…
I’m not saying ditch your long time adult-child friend right away, well you can if you want, I’m just saying tread carefully in where you choose to invest your time and energy. Have you read enough self help articles to know what I will say next? Beware of toxic people, toxic situations, toxic media and ideas. Steer clear.
The things you absorb and choose to surround yourself start working on you, they get stored in your memory or subconscious and slowly but surely you sometimes find yourself acting in ways that you never thought was the authentic “you”. You know exactly the kind of actions I mean, -- dating for superficial reasons, loosing your temper out of nowhere, acting mean and judgmental – the list goes on…. So if these things aren’t the real us, why do we cling to bad habits and allow bad influences to rule us? Well choosing would take some EFFORT. Yea it means being disciplined enough to look at what needs to change and change it.
The key to owning yourself is to make things right for you, according to your desires, needs and wants. There is this beautiful thing called “awareness” and once you have a shift in “consciousness” (I can’t say that word without thinking of Deepak Chopra’s voice saying it in the Happiness Prescription) where you listen to yourself first and foremost you will enter into a much happier world as the true you.
Everyone walks around with a thing called potential and another thing called talents or strengths. These things are hard to quantify but they are very real inside each and every one of us.
The real battle in this life is choosing your own path and realizing what your potential or purpose is for.
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” – E.E. Cummings
Others will tell you what they think you are meant to do, but only you really know the answer. Or can try things to get to that answer. Many people will try to confuse you of what you should be doing with your potential. Some are even masters at thinking they know what is best for you, but they don’t. Do not be swayed. Stand your ground.
When I’m in a emotional mess over career avenues, my boyfriend always likes to remind me how Conan O’Brien’s parents wept when he told them he wanted to be a comedy writer… This always makes me feel better.
Reflect on your strengths and then start doing what you enjoy. Making a living doing it will happen later. Don’t ignore your intuition, it will guide you. And if you have a weird immature friend who you need to cut the cord with, don’t be afraid, there are many other friendships waiting for them in the world. Being your true self involves being vulnerable to the world as yourself, it means stepping up and making the right and tough decisions. It means having the courage to walk away from the wrong things and stick around for and with the wrong things.
Never ever give up the vitality and voice in you. It is your greatest friend and gift.
I personally have tried to ignore my love of reading and writing, because I found that most people didn’t value it. But I know now that it is something I can’t ignore, it is a part of me.
Maybe your strength and key to your future is something you have tried to suppress because other’s didn’t value it. Maybe you know your strengths real well but just have failed to act on them. Discipline requires great effort and so does making choices. Act on your strengths. You will be happy you did.