I used to wonder what it means to have an opinion I call my own. Alot of our perspectives are honed by external factors: our upbringing, what our friends think, the media, and of course, our loved ones. How then, do we organically grow our own perspective, that stays genuine to our authentic self, while being sympathetic to other people’s perspectives?

It is so easily to get riled up sometimes, don’t you agree? Do you ever feel a need to put down someone’s view just to justify your own? Why do we always feel tension when our beliefs or thoughts are being challenged?

The concept of a self identity was foreign to me. I knew, of course, what I liked or disliked. But on many occasions, felt lost because I didn’t know how my preferences were formed. I also didn’t necessarily agree with my likes and dislikes. I found myself wanting to edit them and then also questioning if that was going to make me genuine. Mort Fertel talks about the difference between a self that never changes and a character that changes with age and experiences that our self goes through. The part of me that wants to edit, is what is authentic and acknowledging that means becoming more and more aware of who that self is.

What a strong self is, is to identify our own insecurities, the source of them and to rectify our actions that would stem from them. If someone in our past had once made us feel abandoned, we have to acknowledge that and learn to detach our self worth from that person’s actions. It is knowing that what people think of us is sometimes unrelated to whether we are good enough, but reflective of their own insecurities.

How then to build your own identity? By exposing yourself to experiences and being aware of how you react to them. Then choosing if you like it and adjust accordingly. Everyone can “customize” their identities and that’s the fun part, no? Realizing you can literally be who you want to be. Based on how self aware you are.

Sometimes people tell me they don’t think one can change. But I find that those are excuses, evidence of fear holding them back. If we don’t believe people can change, we limit our chances of growing and changing as people. Every individual has the chance to change to be better. But they first must choose to want that.

I choose to be better as every season passes. Better, not in any material sense, but better in being self aware and stretching the limits of my potential. So I can be of good to people around me, people I love, people I have yet to meet. So that I can live a beautiful life and be a testament to the Grace of God.