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.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. 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 that people live in between 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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Don't Ask Me if it's Real or Not

PSA: Don't ask a girl if her hair is real or not, you may get a response you weren't expecting.

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I am a server at a restaurant in Tampa, and last weekend at work I got asked numerous questions about my hair. Normally, getting asked about my hair isn't a huge issue for me, but it was the comments that were said after, as well as the look of disbelief in this person's face when I answered them.

I walked up to greet my table. Two elderly couples were coming in for drinks and dinner. Putting on my best customer service voice and smile, I introduce myself. As soon as I finish, one of the gentlemen looks at me and says, "WOW. Is that all of your natural hair?" I smile nervously and assured him that this was the hair growing out of my scalp. He then proceeds to add a comment saying,

"It's so big. It looks like you stuck your finger in something and got electrocuted."

I had to sit and pause for a second after hearing this. I think my facial expressions could tell how I was feeling, because his wife jumped in and tried to compliment me on the thickness of my hair, envying it because she didn't have as much hair.

After such an experience, I decided to conduct an Instagram poll, to see what other people's opinions were about this incident, and if it's ever happened to them. Based on the results, people with naturally straight hair don't get asked if their hair is real or not, compared to those with naturally curly hair. Out of those with naturally straight hair, about 76% of the people that voted, have not experienced someone question the authenticity of their hair. On the other hand, of those with naturally curly hair, approximately 82% said they do get questioned about the authenticity of their hair. As a result, 66% of that 82% with naturally curly hair, are of African-American decent or mixed races.

So what's the big deal?

Naturally straight-haired people rarely ever get asked if their hair is real, however, once someone comes along with naturally curly hair and happens to be a person of color, originality is questioned. Why does a certain category of people get asked more often if their hair is real or not? Stereotypes? Ignorance? Genuine lack of knowledge?

Whatever the reason may be, it needs to stop. Wigs and extensions are extremely common in this day and age, but they also aren't restricted to one race of people. Even celebrities of fair skin wear wigs and fake hair.

Whenever I get asked about the authenticity of my hair, people look astonished when I tell them it is all mine. Why would anyone think the hair growing out of my scalp is fake? It is a known stereotype that people of color do have more coarse and curly hair textures, but that also isn't the case for everyone. We need to stop putting people in categories based on stereotypes. This applies to more than just hair texture. Especially when interacting with strangers, you cannot assume things based on what you've heard or any prejudgements you may mentally make. Asking someone if their hair is real or not, is just as bad as asking someone if they got a nose job or breast implants. What if you ask them and they say no? It can be more offensive to that person than you think. I understand there are cases where the person genuinely is uneducated about other hair types, but either way, those types of comments or questions should not be vocalized. As a society we need to be more considerate of the things we say, as well as get rid of stereotypes and negative prejudgments. At the end of the day, we are all the same species. We may look completely different than the person next to us, but that's the beauty of it all.

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