The Push You Didn’t Know You Needed ~ IsleofAtlas
The Push You Didn’t Know You Needed
A Beginners Manifesto PT 2 – How To Think For Yourself
Everything in being first began as a thought. To believe, one must first be free to consider.
For you to truly be yourself, you must be able to think for yourself. Without one, you can’t have the other. You’ll never fully be yourself if you’re always easily swayed by other opinions. And if you don’t think for yourself, can you really be the best version of yourself you are called to be?
Below are some points I thought on about how to think for one’s self.
Experience (and process) as much as possible
The first step. It’s hard to say if you’re truly thinking for yourself if you aren’t engaging in processes which rely on you to think and make decisions. So, throw yourself into new experiences. And take time to appreciate the previous experiences you’ve already been through. From that, you can decipher what you like and what you don’t. When you reflect on these experiences? Determine why you like somethings more than you like other things.
What is the source of your enjoyment, of your happiness?
Are you engaging some experiences because of personal gratification and growth or because you didn’t want to miss out (FOMO)?
Are you the type of person to do things (and enjoy experiences) if you’re alone, or do you need someone there with you to vibe with?
These are all important questions you should be finding the answers to. And in doing so, you separate original thoughts and first-hand experiences from influenced thoughts and second-hand experiences.
Be open to hearing other perspectives
if you’re not open to your views being challenged, then you’re too insecure to hold onto them in the first place. As I always say: there’s a difference between arguing your case in a debate and pushing points in an argument. And I’m always ready to hear an argument, but not to have one.
As we grow, it’s imperative to allow our views to be shaped by multiple perspectives. Whilst you may not have a comprehensive understanding of all situations you experience (thank God for grace oooo), inviting the voice of others with more experience allows us to accelerate through certain mental processes without the need of going through some experiences – especially negative ones.
A word is enough for the wise, as they say.
However, it’s also important to recognise where our views have been influenced by others’ opinions, and to not let other people’s experiences determine our reality. Everyone experiences and perceives a slightly different subjective reality to their neighbour. What may be classed as a negative experience to some could in fact be clouded by a negative perception toward an otherwise ambiguous circumstance. Depending on what lens you understand yourself to use, be careful in accepting advice without testing it. Why? Because in processing such advice from your own perspective, you are thinking for yourself.
Whilst there are objectively negative experiences (most of which can be avoided first-hand in lieu of progressive advice), experiences which are ambiguously and possibly even controversially determined by the population are always worth truly understanding for one’s self. Experience is the best teacher, as they say.
Not every circumstance needs to be engaged personally to understand the lessons which can be taken from it. But never let that stop you to be hesitant to experience as much of life as you possibly can. It’s all down to personal discernment.
Be ready to be wrong
This is the point about accepting how every lesson you learn may not be right one for you. As a child, you soak in everything around you – like a sponge. As such, you will tend to emulate those around you who inspire you – your mannerisms and use of language are usually a result of years of informal education from your parents, and your immediate environment.
However, as you grow, you will see not everything you understand about your environment will be correct. Sometimes, we forget that even those who inspire us get it wrong sometimes. Or rather, the way they look at the world is a lens we no longer wish to affiliate with.
The sooner you develop the courage and humility to accept where you are wrong and move on, the better. Don’t let pride and personal image keep you from experiencing life. Whilst you may not always be in control, ultimately, only you can determine how much you get from life, after all.
Protect your energy
As important as open and honest discussion is to your thought development, you must recognise those who refuse to understand your perspective. Those who gaslight your ideas and snuff out your views before they’re fully developed. These people are dream killers. You may not always be right, but you are surely not always in the wrong.
Setting your boundaries as to what critique you allow into your life and how you allow yourself to be talked to will possibly be one of the most important lessons in defining how you present yourself to other people. In the process of doing so, you must recognise your value. Your mind, sense of peace and time are all aspects of self that shouldn’t be compromised for those who consistently fail to appreciate the sense of self you are developing. As you start to think more ambitiously, the environment which you tend to these thoughts in will determine whether these ideas grow or die. So, there are ideas you can’t always speak out in the open, and people you can’t always hang around (for too long anyways).
Give yourself a chance
This was also an important lesson for me – the lesson of self-forgiveness. In accepting new ideals, I also had to reflect on the person I subconsciously chose to be, and the decisions I settled on. They weren’t always the best, but there was always something to learn. It’s an important part of any reflection process to allow yourself to think honestly and openly, realising you may not always immediately think positive.
But your mind doesn’t have to stay there.
You don’t have to stay there.
And no one can keep you there, no matter how much they try to.
It’s always in the past, and we’re always in the present.
In the process, thinking openly about decisions you have made in the past against the decisions you would make now shouldn’t condemn you. Rather, you should rejoice that you have matured enough to learn something new from old experiences. And you must forgive yourself. To do that, you must be honest about the person you were when you didn’t understand and think to the extent you do now.
So, forgive yourself for a previous version of you which no longer exists.
Because they aren’t you anymore.