I was reading through my diary and a common self-talk conversation came up intermittently, especially at the beginning of this year. Don't succumb to influence, I told myself again and again. You don't need to be validated by other people. Be carefree. You're better than that. These thoughts, this mantra of sorts, has been being inwardly repeated for months and months, and it is now September. My diary is proof of this.
As a result, over 2016, I've become less accepting of others and more judgemental. I don't want to "succumb to influence" so I won't try this new thing, I won't embrace this or that. I am my own person so there is no need to follow any form of trend, to follow anyone else's idea but my own, right? Instead I'll judge others who do. I'll think I'm too good for them. I'll think I'm too good for everyone who hadn't made it onto my sacred list of friends before this cut off date, where I decided that self-actualisation came in the form of closing myself off to anything new, because if I'm truly being me then I shouldn't pay attention to anything else, right?
By recording everything, by writing this blog, in a way I'm defining myself without really understanding who I am - and that's dangerous. I'll think I'm making sense of everything, I'll think I'm discovering myself by reading my thoughts on a page - but these words aren't accurate depictions of my thoughts. I'm writing down what I already know, and I'm limiting myself to just that by thinking these words are who I am, and that's all there is to me.
It's like once the words are written on a page, they're definite. I no longer have the flexibility to change that thought or opinion, to redefine myself in that sense. I'm stuck and I'm limited. That's the danger of curating your own personal brand. If you've already defined yourself, how do you change that definition? How do you expand to possibly discover and become something new if you've already decided what you are, and you've posted and posted fragments of this identity you've created for yourself for everyone to see. There's no going back now. There's no room to change.
It's a trap. It ruins the fluidity of a being. We've been moulded and shaped by our own selves through our words and our photos, and that has then seeped into our personalities and our interests, and now we've created identities that we don't want to stray from, because it just seems unthinkable. We already know who we are, so what's the point, right?
On Sunday I realised that something that had been taking up a lot of my mind-space actually didn't matter too much to me after all, and so the cogs in my brain started working again, and I thought that as of Monday I should join in more. I would be more accepting, I would be more pleasant, I would embrace ideas and conversations I would have inwardly rolled my eyes at and been condescending about only a week before. I defied this self-proclaimed society-view I had written down and made definite, and it felt good.
I had taken the self-defense mechanism of believing other people didn't matter, that embracing new things didn't matter, out of fear of rejection. I had taken this and convinced myself it was self-actualisation. I had made this view a part of my identity and it limited me from living properly.
It seems as if we all only want to know what we want to know about ourselves, when it isn't so much about knowing rather than creating. Some people want to be super political, they want to seem bigger than themselves and their little bubble. Some want to be super artistic, going through the most extreme efforts to do something unique (yet I find that most of this 'artistic' stuff has the same vibe as all the others, so most of it really isn't that unique at all). They all want to discover that they are political or artistic or whatever they wish to be, and day by day they make themselves more so, because they are creating themselves this way, not discovering something that was already there. But now they are trapped. They have limited themselves to this 'political' or 'artistic' personal brand they have been nursing into existence.
And I think we should just be aware of these limitations we are inflicting upon ourselves. We should be aware that our identities are fluid, not fixed, forever changing if we let it do so.