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Be You, Do You: Taking Control of Your Life

Become who you really are

I’ve recently entered a chapter of my life where I’m more open and direct about what I want and don’t want from all aspects of my life (career, relationships, etc.). In many ways, our twenties are the last decade of those truly formative years, and it’s a pivotal time to really point our lives in whatever direction we want it to go.

Motivational speaker Denis Waitley says, “A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.”

So how do you do that? While I don’t have the answer all figured out, I do have some ideas that have been working for me. Every day is another day to practice fearlessly being me, and here’s what is working for me so far: 

Make a decision

The biggest things we want from life aren’t going to come because we whisper to them, or hint that we want them to come our way; we have to boldly claim them by making firm decisions. Making a choice is like sticking a flag in undiscovered land—you’ll know where it is in case you get lost on the way to your goal, and other people will know it’s yours. Whether you’re making a character change, or taking a step towards a larger goal, make those steps concrete. That doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. We’re always evolving, and it’s natural to reach new conclusions, but we should choose and own who we are today, and let that shape who we’ll become when the future gets here. 

Don’t be ashamed to broadcast that decision

Once you’ve reached a decision about who you are and what you want, you might have to tell others about your changes. Human beings are creatures of habit, and we have a tendency of expecting people to be who they are on a consistent basis. It should be expected that others may not adapt well to who you’re becoming, but if you’re truly comfortable with yourself, you’ll learn to be okay with the pushback. As Dr. Seuss aptly wrote, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” 

Accept that fearlessly being you might hurt a little

When you’re a kid, your growing pains are usually of the physical kind. When you become an adult, those growing pains can reach into every avenue of your life. Let’s say you want to start working out; you’re really going to feel the burn in the beginning. If you’re ready to pursue a new career or interest, you may be faced with overwhelming fear. One of your relationships has run its course; you may find yourself mentally and emotionally exhausted. Luckily, taking agency over your life means that you know where you’re headed, and you’ve got the self-confidence to get there no matter what you face. Stay focused on your goal, reaching it will be the gain for your pain.

Do you every day

Poet E.E. Cummings wrote, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” Gaining true comfort in your new skin takes practice. The only way to practice is to wake up and proudly be you every day. Should you feel you’re struggling to find that confidence, keep in mind that sometimes believing in yourself takes convincing. If you go through the motions of the person you want to be, it will eventually become a natural action. It’s like riding a bike; once you learn, you won’t forget.

I like to think that I’m always growing, and learning every day how I can most be myself. It’s a work in progress, but I’m happy with where I’m headed, and that allows me to be happy with my life on a daily basis. I’ve learned a few things along the way, but there’s always room to learn more.

Tell us about how you maintain your self-confidence and take control of your life. How have you conquered any adversity on your journey to becoming your best self? Share your thoughts with us. 

About the Author

Mara Johnson

Mara is pursuing a degree in English with a Literature concentration at Georgia State University. She is interested in food and craft festivals, finding new and interesting music, and graduating! She hopes to one day become a literature teacher.

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