Many people say, “I’m struggling to find myself” or “figure out who I am.” The funny thing is, there’s nothing to find—there’s only something to create. Unfortunately, most people let their fears and beliefs stop them from choosing who they want to be.
If we let go of an object, it will drop to the floor. If we drop the object ten times, it will drop to the floor each of those ten times.
Nothing in the way we drop the object, nothing in the way we think about the way it falls, will change the fact that it falls. It’s a physical law. We can’t change gravity.
But most issues pertaining to fear are not scientific in the same way gravity is. Here we’re not interested in neurology or brain chemistry, although of course they play a role in fear. We’re more interested in the stories we have told ourselves and the possibility of changing them.
More than that, we’re interested in creating the tools necessary to move forward, in spite of existing fear, not necessarily in its absence.
We simply need to bring to the front of our minds the idea that, outside of physical laws, by and large we created the world around us. And if we made it up, we can change it.
For example, concepts like time, age, and money are constructs—we gave them their meaning so that we as human beings could have a framework in which to operate, to reduce the chaos around us.
We can choose to look at them anyway we’d like. A person who is sixty-eight can feel like he’s ninety, and someone who is eighty-three can feel like she’s seventeen. Some see the opportunity in five extra minutes; others think it’s too short to do anything.
From the moment of our birth, major aspects of our lives were determined for us, like the country we grew up in, our family, our religion, our social circles, our education, and so much more. Our beliefs—and in turn many of our fears—are concepts that were influenced by these factors and others.
The belief systems of others and our interpretations of them created and influenced our own belief systems, our psychologies, our perceptions, our decision-making process, and our choices. And so, there are a couple of important points to mention at the outset of our journey.
First, certain choices were made for us by others on the grounds that we were helpless to make those choices ourselves. We didn’t decide where we lived, where we went to school, or what religious beliefs we followed.
Second, much of our fear comes from our own imperfect interpretations of the messages we received in our environment at a young age. We couldn’t imagine that something else was really bothering Mom when she exploded at us; it must have been our fault.
Third, conditions change—we grow up—giving us the opportunity and perhaps the responsibility to reinterpret what we received from others in order to become our own true selves.
In part, fear is born of that struggle between continuing to hold on to and live up to the ideals that were imprinted on us in our childhood and recreating ourselves into new, independent, and self-aware individuals.
Every day you get to choose who you are. Don’t let fear control you.