Take control of your own identity, self definition

Autumn Kunkel and Autumn Kunkel

Becoming a healthy, stable adult can be a difficult and even painful process.

Growing up means that one has to slowly start becoming independent on various levels, ranging from that of financial independence to solid emotional stability.

Another big part of growing up is learning how to unabashedly be the person that one so desires to be. In this level, there can be a lot of fierce opposition.

People can be critical and fervently push for conformity, or for one to fit their own personal vision of what a decent human being should be.

But what’s important to remember is that individuals alone are responsible for their own self-definition; they shouldn’t let the criticism of others or social stigmas stifle their own desired personal growth.

Now, it should first be noted that not all criticism is necessarily bad, and some should be adhered to.

If, for example, one goes around punching people in the face, and others criticize them for that behavior, then it might be wise to stop that behavior.

Causing pain to others – physical or otherwise – is not something that should be personally accepted or that one should take pride in.

When I say one shouldn’t let the criticism of others or social stigmas stifle their desired development, I’m talking about the criticism of harmless traits that simply may not conform to the norm or to what others may envision as ideal for an individual.

My personal experience has further encouraged this notion for me.

I am a naturally loud, assertive human being. Being female, this means that growing up I got a lot of criticism for this trait, as people generally prefer females to be quiet and submissive.

It was tough growing up; I always tried to be “daintier” or more fragile, but the fact of the matter is, that’s not who I am, and it never will be.

In fact, I’ve grown to love the strong, not so dainty woman that I’ve become.

My assertive trait that’s been so gallantly criticized is useful for my naturally ambitious persona; it is part of my own personal self-definition, and it’s not something that I would ever want to change.

I mentioned that while growing up, people tried to stifle my natural assertiveness, but it’s something that I still deal with today.

The only difference is that I have learned to brush that criticism right off, because it’s something that I personally have grown to like about myself. In my eyes, I am causing no harm with this trait.

My assertiveness might rub some the wrong way or initially put people off, but it’s not completely detrimental to myself or others. My point is, while this trait might not be held in high regard by everyone, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, so it’s not something that really needs to be changed. Instead of completely changing this aspect of myself, I’ve allowed this characteristic to assimilate into my self-definition, and I feel better for letting myself be who I want to be instead of adhering to naysayers.

I’ve used my own personal experience to demonstrate the point that, when it comes to one’s own personal definition, it’s important for them to take control of who they are and who they want to be.

Something as intimate as self-definition is not something that should be left in the hands of others to deal with.

The greatest gift to oneself is the ability to self-define as one so pleases and the greatest harm can be caused if one allows others to have that power.

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