Do you know who you are, what you believe, and why you believe it? Are you aware… do you look around and choose a path for yourself, or do you just blindly follow the path laid out for you by others? People who fit the first description are anchored, while people who fit the second are adrift.
People who are anchored know who they are. They know what they believe and why they believe it. They are aware of their own ability to choose their path consciously, and do not simply follow what others have done before or direct them to do now.
Those who are adrift, on the other hand, are mostly who other people tell them they are. They shift with the wind, accepting and following the last input they received, never (or rarely) asserting their own power of choice. Sometimes they try to place a limit on who can affect them this way, keeping it to only those they consider authorities or experts in the field, but this often a false front, with them allowing all who give the appearance of authority, or even just certainty, the ability to decide who they will be and what they will do.
You probably know examples of each type. You can probably even think of examples of a “type of person” who is expected to be anchored, but in reality is adrift, like a preacher, a teacher, or other authority figure. The sad part is that other people who are adrift rely on these people who are “supposed to be” anchored, but in reality are not, to give them direction in their own lives.
At this point, some of you may be thinking that the people I’m referring to as anchored are probably close-minded. If you’re thinking that, you are wrong. People who are anchored have no need to reject the opinions and beliefs of others without considering them. They know who they are and why they believe what they believe well enough that other people’s beliefs are not threatening. Close-minded people are actually adrift, rejecting the input of others without considering it because they lack confidence in their own beliefs.
Fortunately for the majority of people who are adrift, it is totally possible to become anchored. Totally possible and totally easy are not, however, the same thing. If you want to become anchored, you need to take a few steps, and while they are simple to understand, they are not without effort, and likely not without pain.
Learn To See Your Own Beliefs
If you want to be anchored, you must be aware of what you believe. That means consciously aware, and able to articulate what it is that you believe. If you cannot say what you believe, you certainly can’t understand why you believe it, and so it is likely that you believe it because someone else told you it was so. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean your belief is incorrect… it just means that it’s not truly YOUR belief, it is someone else’s belief where you are acting as if it is your own.
If you need help getting started, you can try a series I wrote a while back:
- Learn To See Your Own Rose-Colored Glasses
- Learn To See Your Own Rose-Colored Glasses Part 2
- Learn To See Your Own Rose-Colored Glasses Part 3
- Learn To See Your Own Rose-Colored Glasses Part 4
Choose Which Beliefs You Want
Once you have learned how to see your beliefs, you must choose, for each one, whether to keep it and make it your own or discard it as not being congruent with who you want to be. This process also helps you to resolve conflicting beliefs that can be the source of much, if not most, of the stress in your life. Each belief you choose to keep is now able to become your own, and part of who you are, not just part of a persona.
Understand The Why Of Each Belief
Once you have chosen to keep a belief, and indeed even while you are considering whether or not to do so, you will need to examine it. You should find out the details, EXACTLY what is involved in the belief, what type of circumstances it applies to, and most importantly of all, WHY you believe it. If you cannot say why you have a belief, then it is not yours yet… it is still a part of the persona you are projecting, not who you truly are. Once you are aware of a belief, choose to keep it, and can explain why you believe it, you can claim it as your own, a part of your true self, your core.
Align Your Outside With Your Inside
Now that you understand which beliefs are a part of you and which are part of a persona, you can reject that persona. You have enough knowledge of your self that you no longer need the affirmations of others to feel worthy. In fact, your self-worth (which is NOT the same thing as self-esteem… in fact, there is enough of a difference that I will probably write an entire article on it in the future) will be stable, neither ridiculously high nor ridiculously low. It will simply be enough to be who you are, and allow others to be who they are, and draw shared enjoyment where you can.
This is the last element on the list, but in reality it shows up earlier in the mix. The thing is, it may show up anywhere on the list… it may be when you first start, when you realize that you can, in fact, choose what you believe, or any other time in this process. It is at least virtually impossible, and probably actually impossible, to complete the steps above without becoming aware. So what does it mean to “Be Aware”? It means knowing, understanding, and accepting that you have the power to control who you are and how you respond to any situation. It means accepting responsibility for your own actions… ALL of them. It means, more than anything else, being aware that you are free, that no one can force you to do anything you choose not to do. They can force your body to do certain things, but you are not your body, and that real you is completely, 100%, irrevocably free.
When you have followed each of the steps above, which are not always strictly done in the order listed, especially #5, you will find yourself anchored amongst a sea of people adrift. This gives you many advantages, too many to be listed here, but I will list one benefit: peace. Peace comes with awareness. When you know that you are free, that you are who you choose to be, and not who you choose not to be, peace is unavoidable. It is only when you try to deny this freedom, and the responsibility that comes with it, that peace ever departs.
And that is a huge difference, and a huge benefit, in and of itself.