Our personality is shaped by our conscious and unconscious processes. When a person is unhappy, angry, sad, distressed, nervous, anxious, curious, happy, etc. and any other related emotion, the brain and the mind would have played a pivotal role in the manifestation of these emotions. Neurologist have stimulated the part of the Limbic system (part of the brain which is responsible for emotions) with Electrode rods in the laboratories and various emotions have evoked from anger to excitement, hate to love. All this proving that emotions can be controlled at will. This might sound impossible but to reap the secrets of life you will have to believe in the impossibility and see beyond face value or beyond human imagination. You need to think positively of yourself and always know that you’re special. I remember Gordon Tredgold (famous Business consultant and coach) once told me, “it all starts when you realize that you’re special”, If you have confidence in yourself you wouldn’t care a lot when people ignore you, exclude you, or dump you just because you couldn’t do what they wanted you to do or you couldn’t be what they wished you could be. Being yourself will unlock doors to inner peace, happiness, fulfillment, confidence and high self-esteem. Teenagers face a lot of pressure and influence from friends, it might be in fashion trends, drugs, girlfriends/ boyfriends, and some may end up indulging in these things just to satisfy their peer’s needs or just for the sake that all teenagers do it. You’re so special and someone out there wishes to have brains like yours. Let us dive right away into the 5 ways to set yourself free and be yourself.
Get to Know Yourself better
There is an inner voice inside all of us that is always talking and directing our behaviors, our choices and our desires. We sometimes hear it talking louder or maybe just whispering. This voice was born the same day with us. The psychologist call this voice, the ego. When we are stressed and mentally fatigued this voice is louder than normal and sometimes it really irritates us. It’ll be going back and forth providing solutions and justifications, e.g. when we did something wrong and we start blaming others as a way to justify our actions. Getting to befriend this voice other than trying to fight it, is the first solution to getting to know yourself better. Start by giving it a cute name, for this is one powerful component of your personality. This surface voice constantly gets into conflict with another unconscious voice termed the Id. The id operates below surface and is one voice that is just concerned with having fun and pleasing us. It houses all our deep feelings, desires, intentions and attitudes. The id is the one that constantly get us into trouble. It may lead us to eat sweets and cakes then leave us to gain too much weight later, commit crimes, get into drug abuse, cheat on our spouses etc. There is an important point to note however that when there is a conflict between id and ego we tend to develop mental distress. When your id wants you to steal money but your ego reminds you of the Ten Commandments. When your id wants you to ignore your parents because they treated you badly but your ego is telling you that you can’t do so because they are your parents. Knowing yourself better is about befriending the conscious and unconscious mind, harmonizing the two and listening to these voices without judging either one. It is assumed that people who can talk to themselves have high IQs but I doubt that’s the case, I believe anyone can do it. Its ok to find yourself talking to yourself, the id and ego would be having a chat and the more they are in harmony the more you have peace. Sometimes the voices may be termed the guts and motivational speakers always say “follow your guts”. These two friends guide you in life, alleviate stress, although sometimes they fail to solve mental challenges which lead us to experience mental distress they are still a part of us.
Discover your purpose
When I was growing up I had a very competitive spirit which somehow blinded me all those years and it unconsciously made me feel purposeless. I believed I can do anything under the sun as long someone was doing it. I ventured into many things. I tried singing hip-hop and even recorded not so good 2 songs because my friends were good at it. I tried breakdancing but got to accept that I was not meant for it. I tried joining the school acting club but was dismissed for failing to fake crying. From my experience I learnt that you can do many things but you can only be very good at one thing. We were born in such a way that the shape and the chemistry of our brains can only allow us to be very good at one thing and ok on the other. It all starts with the realization that you’re special and unique. We were all created for a purpose and some find their purpose earlier while others find their purpose later in life. Our purpose may be in two forms, to fulfill others’ needs or to fulfill our needs but usually when fulfilling our needs we also fulfill others’ needs. Your purpose should be something that you can do even if you wake up to a call that says you can no longer be paid. It should be something that makes you wake up every morning. It should be something that you always find yourself thinking about. You won’t realize your purpose unless you explore, observe and see what excites you. If I did not read my dad’s psychology books and met my friend Prince, a psychology enthusiast, who made me develop further interest in psychology, I wouldn’t have found my purpose. We sometimes realize what makes us whole when we encounter it. Four Questions that may guide you in discovering your purpose. 1) What am I good at? 2) What makes me feel most fulfilled? 3) What can I change about me or about my society? 4) What is done wrongly which I can do right?
Be able to switch code
This is the ability to talk to anyone, be it young, old or children, rich or poor, white/black. How we interact with others is solemnly governed by our psychic processes. It largely lies on our internal beliefs about others and the world. We have beliefs that certain people are like this or certain things operate this way. We can blame it all to our childhood experiences but ‘blaming’ is still influenced by these beliefs. This not only does it make us feel uncomfortable around others but it reduces the chances of us connecting with them and getting to know them. In systematic therapy, mental distresses are said to emanate from relationship breakdowns and if relationships were prioritized we would be less depressed, less bored or even having few or no schizophrenic people. Gaur Gopal Das emphasizes that true happiness is found in true and deep meaningful relationships. The one who has set him/herself free is able to talk to an infancy, a 1 year kid, a teenager, a youth, a middle aged man and an elder. He/she is often referred to as friendly or a free soul. In order to converse with anyone you must first understand their psych, what do they mostly think about, what do they value, what makes them laugh, what bores them and what are their expectations and you can learn this even if you’re not a psychologist. When you’re conversing with an infancy you’d obviously make funny facial expressions, when conversing with a teenager you would obviously talk about trends, movies or games, sport and entertainment. If you’re conversing with middle aged men or women the topics of interest could be marriage, family, business, politics etc. When talking to an elder the topics could be history of the country, politics, advices about life etc. When conversing with people from different backgrounds always start with genuine conversations and avoid controversial topics like religion and politics. Practicing talking to anyone does not only make you happy, increase your charisma and social skills but it increases your chances of being invited to business seminars, opportunities and job interviews. Here is an interesting fact: To get to the President’s office the easiest route is going through the cleaners not through the Ministers. There is more on switching code than this article can cover in one paragraph. Kindly indicate on the comments sections if you’d like a separate article on this.
Free the child in you
In the first subheading I was referring the id as a pleasure seeker and a trouble maker. The fact that the id knows how to make us happy leaves us with no choice but to let it out here and there provided it is closely guided. This is the child in you. Do you constantly find yourself doing something silly or rather “crazy” for example shouting in the street at night, climbing a tree, singing in the bathroom, jumping on top of the dining table and dancing. If you constantly find yourself doing any of these then your child in you is free. The child in you does not age it stays younger even an 80 year old man has that child. This id is what makes us crack jokes and make us laugh. Do not be afraid to let the child in you out, once or thrice a day. It is one component of our personalities that makes us different from each other. The traits that we usually admire from others usually come from the id and you’ll realize that many people will fall in love with you after you let yourself out and be who you’re.
Have a stubborn mentality
The truth is, no matter what we do in life we’ll always experience mental distress but we can strengthen our brains and be less immune to stress. Using the Cognitive Behavioral therapy we can achieve this by knowing that our individual experiences and beliefs are what determines how we feel and behavior not the situations themselves. A famous example, is that of a man who wakes up in the middle of the night and hears a noise. Upon waking up certain thoughts may evoke that may affect his emotions and his behavior. If he thinks, it’s just his neighbor’s cat knocking over the bin again, he may feel irritated and then go back to sleep. If he thinks it’s a thief, he may be frightened and may go and look through the window or call the police. If he thinks it’s his son coming from the the bar late at night, he may be angry and may write a note to remind himself to talk to him in the morning. In this example, thoughts generated emotions and emotions generated the behavior. What we think affects how we feel and what we think and how we feel affects what we do (Bere, 2020). There are thoughts that are just automatic e.g. I’m dull, I’m ugly, people don’t like me, I’m not enough, I’m not good at this etc. These thoughts will generate how we feel and how we behave. Always weigh these thoughts before believing them; ask yourself how true they are? What evidence do I have? How are they limiting me from setting myself free? It lies solemnly on us to make ourselves feel better and stress free.
Instead of trying to fight stress let us have a conversation with our thoughts and as I mentioned earlier, get the id and ego to be friends.