Who Am I?

The very essence of our existence comes into question the moment we are self aware. Searching within the depth of our souls, we tear every fiber hoping to find a solid revelation. We compare ourselves to others around to see how we measure up. But, this futile effort leaves us torn and no answers. Who am I?

May I suggest an alternative. Ask yourself “Who do I want to become?”. Do not look towards celebrities, businessmen, or heroes. Look within. Find that special person and work to let it out. Do you want to be kind, gentle, strong, or outspoken? For me, it was happy. I just wanted to be able to genuinely smile and say “Life is good.” In other blogs I will reference this dream a lot. It was my largest milestone. How does one change who they are and become who they want to be? There are steps and processes that are necessary. Bare in mind we are individuals and being different means one size doesn’t fit all. Our dreams are as unique as we are. They are worth chasing so long as they are within reason.

It is good to have dreams, but we must understand their differences. There are constructive dreams as well as destructive dreams. A constructive dream is achievable while a destructive dream sets us up for failure. Imagine I just turned 50 and I planned on retiring at the age of 62. My dream is to retire with $1,000,000 in my 401K. Presently I have $150,000. Logic states that this dream will not come to pass unless I win the lottery. A sense of failure may come over me. No one like to fail. Yes, there are reports of people rushing out to Vegas and losing every bit of their retirement. Sadly, it happens. Now, a positive dream is more productive. Let’s say my dream was to retire with $250.000 in my 401K. By reducing debts and increasing my contributions, I am stepping in the right direction. Both dreams are steep, no doubt. But, the second one is more achievable and will present a sense of accomplishment when achieved.

Our dreams are not our only definition. The manner in which we speak has a huge role in defining who we are. In my late twenties and early thirties I was not so gentle with my words. If I had a point to make I used harshness to send it. This negativity kept people at a distance, and with good reason. Looking back, there are a lot of things I could have changed. Stress controlled my actions. What actions define you? Do others see the person you want to be? I once met a woman who had a habit of manipulating those around her. Her peers took her as controlling and deceitful. However, when asked about her actions, she merely stated she was being helpful. She never saw her actions as defined by her peers. This is why it is important to live by the adage “Let your yeses be yes, and let your no’s be no’s.” Living a life of “maybe’s” leaves room for misinterpretation.

“Actions speak louder than words.” Most of us have heard this before. So with that in mind, the best way to change who we are, or how we appear, is to change our actions. This is easier said than done. Our habits become who we are. Even our bad habits define us. So, how do we change? It starts with a direction. We need to define who we want to be. There is nothing wrong with starting vague. Nonetheless, specifics need to be defined and put into practice. Never underestimate the specifics. My dream of being happy was very vague. I knew that being happy was what I wanted. But how do I get there? How do I maintain that happiness? After all, what good is a dream if I can’t maintain it? Grabbing a paper and pencil, I jotted down my thoughts. I also made a list of things that prevented me from being happy. Standing back, I easily identified that stress was a major inhibitor. This is also how I identified a condition I call stress induced anger. Most people get frustrated, I got angry, loud, and sometimes hostel. This was the complete antithesis of who I wanted to be. Once stress was identified as my inhibitor, efforts were set into motion to reduce my stress levels. I breathed from my lower abdomen. I abstained from activities that raised stress levels. Time management became a huge factor. I didn’t want to feel rushed or under pressure. Some people work great under these conditions; I do not. I had a boss that put pressure on me. He stated stress makes people work their best. I tried to explain that stress hinders my work performance. But, he knew best and continued with the pressure. I stopped and walked away. He threw someone else in my place. In his eyes I failed. At first I felt bad, but staying true to my goal of being happy meant more to me than pleasing others. Yes, others will get disappointed in our changes. But, it’s not about them. It’s about us reaching our goals and living our lives. After all, we can’t please everyone.

It’s clear that asking “Who do I want to be?” can have more positive effects than asking “Who am I?”. And that’s the key; stay positive. It’s not always easy and moments of depression will rear its ugly head. But by staying focused on our dreams we afford ourselves an opportunity to stay on track. We should never over criticize ourselves. There are plenty of people around already doing that for us. It’s not wrong for us to criticize ourselves. It’s not constructive ot over criticize our actions. Live life with a positive outlook. Even a rainy day can have its feel good moments. So soak them up while we can. Better yet, find others who share and support your dreams. By coming together in a like-mind spirit we help each other grow. Stay focused and stay positive my friends. .

Until next time

Live life, and be happy.

AT1_Retired@yahoo.com

Steven Curtis

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