12 Steps I Took To Reinvent Myself

12 Steps I Took To Reinvent Myself

And that you should follow too.

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I feel that this topic is rarely discussed and maybe that's why so many people are stuck feeling stagnant or unhappy. I believe that the complexity of the human mind is so vast that it can't be reduced down to one single persona. Even I have fallen into the trap of believing "well, this is just who I am and who I'll be forever." Of course, one's core values and morals aren't subject to dramatically change over the years but who is to say that other characteristics must remain unchanged as well. Reinventing yourself is a journey I've just recently embarked on and I wish more people would be more open to the concept. Below are the 12 steps I followed to become the person I want to be.

 1. Evaluate who you are now. 

This is an essential step because in order to change who you are, you first have to identify exactly who that is—flaws and all. Achieving a better understanding of who you are is the foundation for creating the person you hope to be. It is exceptionally difficult to change certain aspects of yourself if you aren't willing to admit they exist.

 2. Set goals moving forward. 

After recognizing the traits you wish to change, a set plan needs to be put in place. It is easy to say, "I'm going to change this about myself" because the end result is always the first objective we reach for. Instead of getting tunnel-vision, think of this journey as a path of stepping stones where each step is an achievement in itself.

 3. Have a funeral for your old self.

Rest in peace to the person you used to be because once you commit to the art of reinventing yourself, they no longer exist. When you completely detach yourself from your past persona it is less likely that you will revert back when the going gets tough.

 4. You don't have to announce it.

In this age of digital media, it is easy to announce everything through technology. This isn't something you need to document on Snapchat or Tweet about daily. Do this for yourself and no one else.

 5. Sometimes it takes a new environment. 

There is a saying that you can't heal in the same environment you got sick in. Apply that mantra to this reinvention. Open yourself to new environments that will provide you with the room you need to grow.

 6. Or something even harder...like getting new friends. 

Environments are not solely made up of the spaces you put yourself in but the people in those spaces as well. This can be difficult because it is hard to admit that the friends you love may be holding you back from your own personal goals. If you're striving to be a more positive person but are constantly surrounded by negative friends, it could be time to rethink those relationships.

 7. Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. 

This is a given when you choose to surround yourself with new people and new environments. The person you once were was a product of the environment you were comfortable in. Now that you are attempting to revitalize your identity, uncomfortable situations are a must. Figure out who you are in a room where no one knows you and solidify those characteristics while trying something new.

8. Create new cognitive and behavioral patterns. 

In the act of reinventing yourself, psychological factors play as critical of a role as circumstantial ones. You have to work from the inside out as well. Create new patterns in the way you think. Conduct new behaviors that you normally wouldn't. If normally your mind goes to the worst case scenario, force yourself to find the good in a situation. If typically you would procrastinate in your school work, force yourself to get it all done early. These patterns will soon turn into healthy habits.

9. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone. 

There might be people in your circle that question your new thoughts and actions. They may even say something like, "you never cared about that before" or "since when do you do ___." All you have to say in reply is "I do now." In the face of these questions, you'll probably feel the urge to explain yourself—fight it. Nobody needs to know the intentions behind your newfound passions/behaviors.

10. Understand that not everyone has to like you. 

With this evolution of your personality, you may find yourself not getting along with the people you once did or having stronger connections with the new people in your life. This is completely normal. Also, refrain from not acting the way you want due to the fear of not being liked. Their opinion of you is not your problem; this expedition is solely yours and no one has to like it but you.

 11. Reflect on who you were as a child.

This might seem silly but upon this reflection, you'll discover how much you've changed once before. This will motivate you to do it again. Rediscover your thoughts and behaviors as a child before you grew to conform to your surroundings. Experiencelife.com explains it perfectly: "If you bring a puppy into a room full of children and ask who wants to name her, every hand goes up. The same thing will not happen in a room full of adults. They're reacting to their fear of what other people might think if they raised their hands." Remember who you were before you cared about what everyone else thought.

 12. Focus on being the best imaginable version of yourself.  

All in all, the idea of reinventing yourself is entirely for your own benefit. Imagine the best version of yourself that you realistically can. Nothing says you can not work to achieve that vision. Sometimes it seems so hard to focus on yourself when life throws a million obstacles your way but reinventing yourself can change the way you perceive those exact tribulations.

Everybody has those moments where the characteristics or actions of others seem more appealing than that of our own. We see somebody in the coffee shop wearing a bold outfit and we think to ourselves, "oh maybe I'll switch up my own wardrobe." Or we might admire the passion of somebody we know and think, "maybe I'll dedicate more time to what I'm passionate about." Unfortunately, we seldom ever dedicate the time to make these changes.

These momentary thoughts are anchored to the internal motivation we all have to change ourselves. What combats this need for change is the amount of effort it takes to become the person you want to be. It means being committed and tending to your persona in a way that is seldom talked about. The truth is reinventing yourself is an endless task requiring daily attention but if the motivation is there, there's no stopping who you'll become.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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I Won't Forgive The Anti-Semitic Students Of Spain Park, Not Yet

Maybe it isn't time for an apology.

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I am Jewish. It is something I have never been afraid of and something I value as much in life as I do with my family and friends. Throughout my life, though I have witnessed hate of the Jewish people and jokes made about Jewish people.

In high school, I had to listen to jokes about Jews and the gas chambers and was asked because I was Jewish if I could do someone else's math homework.

To say I had to deal with anti-Semitism in the South does not come close to describing what I had to go through. As time went by the jokes stopped and I thought I would not have to deal with instances of prejudice or bigotry but I was wrong. Growing up as one of the only Jewish people in my friend group and in high school it made me consider myself strong and ready for college but in my freshman year I had to go through other jokes about my religion and even in sophomore year had to witness someone I thought was my friend make a joke about my religion because "he thought it was funny."

I let the instances of anti-Semitism serve as times when I could prove people wrong I learned to forgive and forget.

But I had to witness other acts of hate towards Judaism while in college. From swastikas on a fraternity house, a synagogue shooting, the BDS movement and more hate speech, the hate towards Jews have seemed to grow and I do not understand why. I get hurt each time I hear of an instance but it has not allowed me to view my Judaism any differently. However, there was an occurrence that has affected me in a different way.

It happened in my home state and it has not sat well with me.

On Monday a video surfaced of multiple high school students making anti-Semitic and anti-Black comments. The video featured a guy turning around the camera multiple times to show he was laughing and thought it was funny while others made comments about concentration camps, what would happen if Jews ruled the world and asking what the world would be like without the Holocaust. The students were from Spain Park in Birmingham and have gathered quite a reputation online.

To say I am filled with anger, disappointment, and embarrassment is an understatement.

This is my home state and these students are not only disrespecting the Jewish and Black people in the state of Alabama but throughout the US and possibly even in the world. I am hurt by this instance but I am not ready to forgive these students just yet.

After the video was leaked online some of the students sent messages to the person who uploaded the video apologizing. That I took as a mature gesture until I read the apology from the girl in the video. The apology asked if the user could remove the video because it would ruin her life and reputation. It was later found out that the female student is the daughter of the manager of the Toyota dealership in Hoover after the manager posted an apology.

Any remorse I had going for these students was now gone.

They were not sorry. They were sorry that they got caught and were facing consequences. They gave the apology that your parents made you say when you did not want to apologize. They did not care about who they had harmed or what they had said, they cared because they had to face consequences and they know that this mistake would follow them for the rest of their life.

I'm at a loss for words.

I don't know how to feel. I know someone will tell me I am overreacting but how am I supposed to approach this? What they said was wrong and there is no proper way to express frustration for it. I know people get offended by certain things but some things are not meant to be a joke. So I hope what you said was worth it and was fun to say because it will follow you for the rest of your life. Some lessons are best-learned overtime and it looks like you will have a chance to reflect on these events.

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