Your Perception Is What Counts: Why You Need To Define Yourself

by Paul Hudson

We’ve had the pleasure of knowing ourselves since the day that we were born. Back in the beginning we were nearly a clean slate, a sponge that was ready to soak up the work around us. Over the years we have grown, adapted and altered our personalities, ourselves. Each individual who has ever existed has had no choice but to live and function within a society. Whether small or large, we each have no choice but to function within a group of people and somehow manage to work together to make all of our lives as pleasant as possible.

It was always difficult to draw the line between who you truly are and who you believe that you have to be in order to "fit" in with the rest of society. Society makes us question ourselves and our thinking. It makes us open our eyes to other ideas, options, possibilities, ways of living. However, the more information we are forced to process coming from the social aspect of our lives and the more we have to decide whether or not to adapt as our own, the more difficult it is to hold on to what makes us unique — what makes us who we are as individuals.

Peer pressure is the most commonly used term when discussing the influence that others have on us. Yet, I don’t believe that it is a fitting term. Pressure is pressure and unless someone is pushing you in a certain direction, it is you that is making the decisions on your own. Society may impose pressure on us from time to time — or at least certain individuals may do so—but most regularly it isn’t pressure that makes us change ourselves; it’s most often the state of the world that we live in that causes us to second-guess ourselves and to conform to the status quo. The things that are trending at the moment are most often the things that stop us in our tracks and force us to reevaluate things.

In the high-tech, fast-paced world that we live in today, trends are shoveled down our throats nonstop. Whether it be the newest apps, clothing trends, gadgets, books, movies, scientific research, political views or even the way we look at those headlining pop culture, we are constantly presented with things that are viewed to be cool or uncool, fun or boring, good or bad, stupid or intelligent, benevolent or criminal… The world is continuously feeding us new information about the way things ‘are’ — yet, in every single case the information that is being presented as fact is almost always opinion.

Most of the things that you hear or read are opinions, one view of the world. The articles that I write, for example, are not unarguable facts on the way the world and life works — I share my opinions of the way the world works based on the things that I know or believe to be fact. Writing helps me keep a good sense of who I am as a person and works as a constant reminder of what I hold to be true — the philosophies that I follow and the purpose I believe to have in life. With the speed at which we are exposed to information it is easy to lose track of yourself as a person.

We easily, and often, get lost in life. The things that we thought were once fact are often flipped to fiction. New studies, knowledge that has just surfaced, new findings… all that which we believe to be explanations of the way the world works changes over time. When presenting an argument, people don’t explain all the sides because it weakens their argument. Let’s be honest… people are more interested in boasting about their intelligence than they are about producing unbiased and objective information. Objectiveness doesn’t sell as well as blind single direction.

This is why it is important that each of us builds a solid framework of beliefs that will remain unwavering through our years. We need it simple. Basic foundations of truths will help direct us and keep us on the right course. What these beliefs are is up to you. They are what define you and make you the person that you are. They are the filter that we view the world and all our experiences through. These beliefs should be so simple and so indisputable to you that they will remain immutable over the years.

If you have a solid foundation of "truths" that you live by then you will have a great tool for sifting through all the information that comes your way and deciding which bits are relevant and important. These fundamental beliefs are what do and will make you, you. They are your individuality; they make you who you are.

Photo credit: Tumblr