Your authentic self is your inner child whose ultimate goal in life is to be happy. When your life is filled with negativity, your inner child cocoons itself. It is natural to feel negative given how social media dictates the norms in our lives in spite of it being so obviously deceiving. Since it is in our nature to want to fit in, we present a pretentious version of ourselves to the world. So how do we express and become our true selves in a world where social media opinions matter more than our own?
“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” -Harry S. Truman
Life is not a bed of roses. Sometimes life is filled with stress like job anxiety, debt burden, or heartbreaks when nothing in life seems to work out. This is when you stifle your dreams because you lack the belief in yourself that you can pursue them. The downside is every time you repress the dreams that would have made you happy, you smother your inner child from shining.
In this article, we will analyze how negativity in your life is restraining you from becoming your true self and what you can do to overcome it.
Why do our minds dwell on the negative?
Our mind works in the strangest of ways. We tend to fixate on negative information and overlook the positive. It turns out that the manner in which one is presented with information dictates their perceptions about it. It’s not about what but how you see it. Whether you describe the glass as half full or half empty affects what others make out of it.
We have a tendency to look for negative information even when there is none. This is the very reason why gossiping is a universal phenomenon.
Alison Ledgerwood, a UC Davis professor of psychology studies how people fixate on particular ways of thinking and how to get unstuck. She conducted research about what happens when one changes one’s frame of mind from positive to negative and vice versa. For this, they incubated two different groups of people with two different perceptions about a surgical procedure. Group A was told that they had a 70% success rate and Group B was informed of a 30% failure rate. When Group A was shown the other side of the coin of a 30% failure rate, they were uncomfortable. Group B too did not show any signs of positivity even after knowing that the procedure had a 70% success rate. This shows how people get stuck in negative ways of thinking though there clearly is a positive side to it.
However, from an evolutionary perspective, it is logical why our brains do not easily let go of negative information. Imagine your ancestors falling prey to predators slyly lurking behind them. The brain stores such information in the collective memory as it helps in problem-solving.
What is the root cause of the negativity in your life?
It lies in the way you perceive situations and your unawareness of negative patterns in life. Some negativity in life is imminent as you cannot appreciate the good without experiencing the bad. However, at most times negativity is diminishing and self-limiting. It aims to bring you down and refrains you from progressing in life.
1. How you perceive situations:
You can create your own destiny as you have the power to assign meaning to the circumstances in your life. Either you can overthink the negativity in your life or you can learn from it and move on. There is a lesson hidden behind every failure, mistake, or frustration that is the secret to its cause and its cure. What counts is how you perceive the tough situations in your life and how you overcome them. Your attitude is the solution to the problems in your life.
2. Identifying negative life patterns:
It is not that simple as these patterns are more often than not unconscious. All of us have negative patterns and it is not something to be ashamed of. But what can be restraining is if these patterns are running your life in autopilot mode. For instance, you give your 100% in a test but the results never turn out satisfactorily or you always attract partners who are unavailable. Such patterns do not imply that there is something inherently wrong with you rather it is an indication of the subconscious programming of your inner world. The more aware you become of these patterns, the more control you will have of your life.
The bigger problem
The problem bigger than the problem itself is that we are all unaware of the real problem. I recently watched a TedTalk by Esha Manwani where she speaks about how her teacher in school humiliated her for not speaking proper English. Years later in college, under similar circumstances revolving around public humiliation, she discovered that she had a lisp. In both situations, she was unaware of her shortcomings that impeded her growth. She said, “the worst thing you can do to yourself is to refuse to see the flaws that you grew up with because they get so embedded in you that you can’t tell them apart.”
Your reality is a reflection of your inner world. Hence, if you are stuck in a negative situation before you blame others or your circumstances, you should first introspect why you landed up where you are.
How To Overcome Negativity by Becoming Your True Self?
Negative emotions are states of low vibrations that impact your energy tremendously. It refrains you from perceiving a situation from a broader perspective.
Your authentic self is the core layer of your personality that functions independent of your conscious personality. It is your true self beyond the conditioning of society. However, your true nature cannot shine especially when your environment is filled with negativity. It works as a blocker for self-expression.
Losing a loved one, meeting with a life-changing accident, facing constant failures and rejections can have a tremendous impact on the way you feel about yourself. These unexpected changes can diminish your self-esteem and make you forget the way you originally feel about yourself. With the five ways listed below, you can become your true self even when life is out of its wits.
1. Change your mindset
Where you are today is a result of your past choices and decisions. So if anything negative is happening in your life, you and only you are in full control of it.
The idea that negativity is a part of life and that everyone is victim to it is not entirely true. Though it is true that negative situations are a necessary part and parcel of life, you have the right to live a stress-free life. Perhaps you indeed are sloppy at work, or you need to work on your social skills or may even need to heal your inner child to attract the right partner. Introspection is key here. Instead of looking at your shortcomings as problems, if you can perceive them as challenges you will be a step closer to your authentic self.
2. Follow your bliss
Everyone has some means of pleasure that brightens them up like a happy child. Most people indulge in hobbies for pleasure’s sake to get away from the mundaneness of life.
It may be difficult to think of happy things when you are sad but most people find their soul during tough times. Pain needs a creative outlet to flow and express. Having something of your own that interests you will define you. This definition will instill in you self-confidence since you now have an identity. The more you indulge in things that make you happy, the more authentically you will express yourself.
3. Resilience to overcome negative situations
Psychological resilience is your capacity to bounce back quickly to harmony from a state of adversity. Dwelling in negativity can be stagnating. It refrains you from moving forward, thinking big, and holds you from being who you are.
Resilience is not easy to achieve. It requires a great deal of positivity and trust in yourself that no matter what the situation is, you will deal with it. In spite of how deeply affected you are, in your heart of heart your know that, this too will pass. You will make it like you always did. As you instill resilience, you become more and more authentic.
Challenging situations test your physical and mental capacities. A sudden drastic change in life shatters your worldview and accepting the new reality of pain and misfortune is nothing less than experiencing cognitive dissonance.
The only way out of excruciating situations is to accept them. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Friedrich Nietzsche. When you accept your situation, you perceive it with new light. It is equivalent to stop resisting it and start facing it, whatever it may be with an open heart. When you stop fighting, you start learning. The more you accept yourself, the more you integrate your true self in your personality.
It can be challenging to be your authentic self when your life is filled with negativity given how our minds consistently dwell on the negative. However, I believe that if you can decipher the logic behind why things happen the way they do, it gets easier to overcome negativity.
Take small and consistent steps every day if you are stuck in a negative situation. You cannot change your life in a day. It takes consistent efforts every single day the compounds over time to change your life. Now go out and be authentic, express your true self without any fear and be you.