The Better Person

Philosophically it can be argued whether a person has a choice, whether life is predetermined or open for chances, environment and actions to shape it. Are we born to a certain role and personality, and how much is in our power to change our destiny, choose our own being and course of life?

Based on my life experiences and observations, many people seem more or less fixed in their beings, in their path in life. Many will fight for a better career development, aim at improved lifestyles, but it’s much rarer to see true willingness to improve oneself. That would require admitting that one is not the best self that one can be, that there is room for improvement. We develop our thinking, our skills and capacities, but less so our true being.

Having struggled with self-esteem issues most of my life, I’ve covered up my weakness by playing tough, by not allowing my hurts to show. That wall has also altered my behavior, and much to a direction away from the best me. I have allowed my fears to control my behavior. I haven’t trusted myself to be who I could be and who I would want to be.

In my grown-up years I have worked on my insecurities a lot, including admitting them out a loud, taking down the protective wall and letting my hurts and weaknesses show. I have intentionally focused on the good on me, trying to control the destructive tendencies, keeping at bay the negative by giving space for the positive.

The change comes from inside but outside forces and other people have played strong supporting roles. Becoming an aunt made me want to be worthy of my sweet niece, her adoration and to be able to be the best aunt possible. I want her to experience and sense the good in me; not flawless, but genuine.

Falling in love brought another change in me. Being loved, and being in love, has given me strength to be a better person. It has made it easier for me to be a better person, truth be told. Feeling relaxed, at ease, in peace with myself.

I believe people can impact who they are, how they are and become a better person at that. We can choose which sides, which traits in ourselves to develop and let them flourish. We can acknowledge the less desired traits and aim to improve them whilst focusing on nurturing and showing the good in us. It is a choice to take matters into our own hands, not give in to the external circumstances or let other people or the past to define us. I’m determined to be in charge of myself, of who I am and who I wish to be. In good and bad, I am me and I am in charge of who that me is. I want that me to be the best me I can be.

Trust Yourself – You Can (at least try)

In my yoga class yesterday I for the first time was able to stand an arm-balancing pose which had always just seemed impossible. Only for a few seconds, but still, it gave me the realization these poses are not impossible. I need to practice, learn the technique and most importantly, believe in myself.

It’s so easy to mark something as impossible and not even try. “Oh I can’t do that” is the easy way out, where as putting in the hours for practicing and conquering the embarrassment and frustration is much harder – but so much more rewarding too.

We all have self-esteem  and confidence in certain things and hesitate in others. I’ve always loved exercising but have kept doing sports in which I’m good at and to which my body naturally reacts positively to. I’ve purposefully avoided sports which are not within my strengths, such as yoga where flexibility would be an obvious advantage, or group sports where I’ve been afraid of letting the team down if I fail. My fear of embarrassing my self and making a fool out of myself has led to me keeping up with my strengths but not improving my weaknesses, which is needed for true development.

The same is true in private life, at work, in other hobbies. We tend to avoid things where we are not strong at and hence keep ourselves from improving skills and also from the joy that comes from conquering something “impossible”.

When I learned to dive and became a very avid scuba diver, meaning getting over my life-long fear of going underwater, I took a giant leap in trusting myself and learning to live fully. I realized then that I’m much stronger and more capable than I ever had thought of. Maybe not “I can do anything” but I can try to do anything.

I’m making a choice now to stop saying what I can’t do and explore how I can do it. Next step is learning a head stand in yoga – not impossible, just hard. After that, maybe continuing with Thai or Vietnamese lessons. Difficult, but doable. I might also play goal attack in netball although I’m bad at shooting – because through practicing I can get better.

What are you going to do? Give up without trying or giving your best shot, trusting yourself and building up your self-confidence?