Living for Yourself Instead of ‘Other’
Making the shift from external → in, to inward → out.
Lately, I have been reflecting on the vantage point from which we operate as a collective. I notice it within my personal experience as well as echoed in the larger society.
This vantage point that I am referencing is from ‘other’. We grow up learning how to show up so that we will be pleasing to others, to look a certain way, go after certain education, achieve what is deemed successful; all of these things so that we will fit in and be accepted. And it is true that as human beings, we have the need to fit in and belong. But accepted by who? By others.
If something is not accepted in society, we push that part of ourselves away; it gets put into our shadow. Then we, unconsciously most often, shrink or hide that part in our daily life. This is however hindering our success, the amount of joy we can feel, and our potential.
What if we flipped this on its head and instead considered the reverse. Instead of trying to do, act, be, and live according to what we think will make others accept us, what if we accepted ourselves? What if we started to consider life from Self…
- Who am I at my core?
- What would the true me want to wear?
- How would my authentic self want to show up in a given space?
- What does success look like to me?
When we do the work to get to know ourselves and notice the thoughts and feelings we are having, we become more connected to Self. We start to move from this vantage point. So instead of doing what we think will look good to the external, we consider what would feel good for us internally. This shift is profound, and we are not taught this growing up.
Take for example my morning run. I started my tracking device to log it, then halfway through I started to notice all these stories of how I could do better, “I should add on more kilometers”, “I need to run faster”. This was coming from what would look more impressive on the app. I was moving from the vantage point of ‘other’.
Once I noticed that this was happening and that it was my conditioning speaking and not my authentic self, I could acknowledge it and why it was there (people-pleasing and perfectionist patterning from the past trying to creep back) and then feel into what my body really needed at that moment. I moved into the vantage point of Self. I was able to recognize instantly that my body didn’t have the energy for longer or faster because I was on the third day of my menstrual cycle. In that quick switch from ‘other’ to ‘Self’, I was able to disconnect from performing or looking for validation externally to accepting exactly where I was right now and honouring what my body needed. And the result was feeling stronger and healthier in my body because I was able to notice, listen to and follow what was in alignment with me.
In the beginning, I was connected to what was important to ‘other’ and then took that in to reflect how I showed up. This is moving from external → in.
After noticing that I was operating from a place outside of myself, I acknowledged that first, and then flipped it back within. I checked in with my body, feelings, energy level, and I quickly got the answer that I needed a shorter run and a more relaxed pace. I listened to, followed, and trusted this. From that place, I was now moving from inward → out. This allowed me to choose myself, honour my needs, connect to my power and gain clarity. In following what I truly needed, I was at that moment building up strength and confidence in myself as well as self-trust. I was reflecting that out to the external, as opposed to shrinking to meet an external expectation and reflecting that out.
My encouragement for you today is to go inward first — to consider how you want to hold yourself and then to listen to yourself, acknowledge your needs, turn on your power, and have that reflect from inward → out. And when you notice that you are taking in thoughts, feelings, or expectations from someplace outside of you, stop to acknowledge that, and then switch back to you.
The more we practice this, the more we get out of our heads and old pattern systems and back into ourselves, living our own life and purpose. We start stepping into new levels of joy and potential that weren’t on the table when we were living for ‘other’.
An important note that I want to add to this reflection is with respect to what is meant by Self. What I am referring to here is not a hyper-focus on the self and ignorance of anyone or anything else. So often in the world of self-care, self-development, or personal health, there is shame projected on the term Self using the concept of selfishness. When you are showing up as a conditioned replica of what you learned is accepted in society, and not your authentic self, you aren’t serving anyone and it isn’t doing yourself or anyone else any good. In order to be able to show up in the world, you need to accept, connect with, understand, and know who you really are, at your core. You need to accept yourself first. From this place, you can then interact and engage with ‘other’ in a more significant and meaningful way.
It’s not selfish to decondition what isn’t you and learn what is. It isn’t selfish to learn what is a hell yes or a hard no and set those boundaries. It is also not selfish to choose yourself and find out what lights you up the most so that you can engage with ‘other’ in a more joyful, calm, and peaceful manner. In fact, connecting with yourself and moving from this place is one of the best things you can do for the entire world. Our world needs more authenticity, yours included.
Turn on your own light, from the inside, out.
If you feel called to learn more about how to live more authentically as you and not for ‘other’, I’d love to connect with you.