Who Are You When No One Is Watching?

Who are you when no one is watching? Trent Shelton asked this question on a recent podcast, and it gave me all of the feels. Who am I? Who am I in front of other people? Who am I when I am solely in my own company? Do I know?

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Episode 34: Who Are You When No One is Watching

Failing Imperfectly
Failing Imperfectly
Episode 34: Who Are You When No One is Watching
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I’ve heard of this concept before, but hadn’t really considered it. There is something about how it was presented in the podcast I heard about it in that made me reconsider it. Have you considered it? Do you know who you are or who you want to be when no one is watching?

Why is it so Hard?

Before I get started, get your mind out of the gutter! 

In all seriousness, why do we make things seem as if they are so difficult? Well, because they are! Duh!! 

Actually, no, they aren’t. They can be anything you want them to be. In my case for this episode, I’m going to talk about work and life in general. Now, I know that there are genuinely some problematic aspects to life; I’m not denying that. What I am referring to are the things that we can control and how we react to everything in life.

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Episode 19: Why is it so Hard?

Failing Imperfectly
Failing Imperfectly
Episode 19: Why is it so Hard?
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Why is life so difficult? Why can’t we just get a break? There are things about life that we cannot help, but there are so many that we can. I’ll tell you how I am working to overcome my mindset about the difficulties in life.

Choices

We all have choices that we make every single day. Some choices are easy to make while others take a lot of consideration. Some determine the direction of our lives and others have minimal impact. But that’s the thing. Every choice we make has some kind of impact on our life. Your decision to read this post will have some impact on your life. You have the choice of whether it will be a beneficial impact or not. 

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Episode 8: Choices

Failing Imperfectly
Failing Imperfectly
Episode 8: Choices
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We all have choices in life. What choice are you going to make?

It’s Good For Me

One of the things I share the most here is about my struggle to live for myself and put myself first. Each and every time I write about it, I’ve learned something new or I just need to get something off of my chest. Today I was inspired by Trent Shelton. His message in the podcast I listened to stuck with me and I felt I needed to share with you my thoughts on it.

In living life to impress others or get other people to have positive opinions about me, I didn’t do what was good for me. If there was ever a chance to go back and change something in my life, I would go back to being a young girl and I would change my outlook about myself. I would be a confident, bossy girl who could give a shit less if that other kid made fun of me again. I would learn and grow instead of drinking and partying to get people to like me. But I can’t go back. I can’t rewrite my history.

What I can do is rewrite my future. I can put a fork in my road and I can do what is good for me. Making that declaration is the easy thing to do. The difficult part is actually doing it. The ability to put aside the gut emotions that I’m so used to allowing to take control over me and pushing forward knowing that whatever caused that emotion is probably not good for me. It doesn’t matter if someone is criticizing me because of a post on social media or because I am so fucking clumsy or because I know that I want more out of life than just coasting along. It does not matter. I get to determine what is good for me, not anybody else.

Another difficult thing about rewriting my future, or rather taking control of my future, is staying sane. This is a journey with lots of ups and downs, lots of times where I am blind-sided by what I am going through, lots of times that I cannot control the situation or the outcome of the situation. All of this uncertainty can be absolutely paralyzing for me. When it gets to this point, I cave and start to fall back to old habits of people pleasing and changing my chameleon colors to fit in.

What’s helped me stay sane is me doing what’s good for me. Okay, me staying true to who I am whether people like it or people don’t.

Trent Shelton

Staying true to who I am is what I am going to strive for in these situations. When something comes up that challenges me and would normally send me back to people pleasing, I will work to ask myself what the next move is and if it involves staying true to myself or not. If not, I will need to adjust my path, adjust my response, and do what is good for me regardless of whether or not the other person agrees.

This means that there will be certain people I will not ever lower my guard around for any reason. I’ve been teaching myself the boundaries to have with some people, now it is time to up my game and use those boundaries to do what is good for me.

Staying true to who I am requires me to know who I am. That is the next challenge. Do I truly know who I am without any external influences?

Do I Have The Right Attitude?

For a lot of people when they hear the term attitude, they think about some person being sassy or down right rude. They don’t jump to consider how attitude plays a part in our every day life. They don’t consider their own attitude.

I didn’t consider my attitude for most of my life. I didn’t consider that the drive I had to be better than where I came from was part of my attitude. Attitude is more than merely whether you are a bitch or a sweet, kindhearted person. I mean, you could be both, but that’s not my point. My point 0is that attitude determines our life.

I recently read and article in Success Magazine titled Jim Rohn on Attitude. I was sitting my my aisle seat on the plane to Raleigh for a long week of work at HQ. This was the first time I had ever highlighted in a magazine. Ever. I had never related much to the little I knew about Jim Rohn’s teachings, but this article opened my heart to a new perspective.

From this article I realized there are two different aspects to attitude that needs to be considered: attitude about life and our personal attitude. I want to talk to you about both of these and how I can look back and identify how my attitude as relating to both aspects has changed in recent years.

First, my attitude about life. I used to be the person that life happened to. In some ways, I still am. I still have a lot of room for growth here. Life happened to me and I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t control how I was raised or the family I came from or the direction that would take me in life. My attitude was that life was out of my control.

Except, it isn’t. I have complete control over my life. I know you are probably thinking “No you don’t. You can’t control illness or getting laid off or depression/anxiety.” you are right, I can’t control those occuring in my life. But, I can control how I react to all of them. That would be my attitude in the here and now. I can control my attitude towards whatever is happening to me or around me.

For instance, my back. When I hit the lowest point of my life with my back, I could have lived in that space and not fought for the life I knew I could have. I could have stayed in the depressing outlook that so many with the same condition of differing severity have. I could have stayed tuned into that Facebook group and complained about the pain and the things I was missing out on. But I didn’t. I knew there was more to life than being in pain all of the time and I wasn’t willing to sit by and just take narcotics. I wanted the surgery because it offered hope that traditional pain management didn’t.

Or another example, getting laid off for the fifth time in five years. I could have taken the time I was given for severance and sulked around because it was also Christmas time. I could have bitched about the difficulty I would have in finding a job at the end of a year around holidays. But I took my anger and I channeled it into action. My attitude of anger became my attitude of determination. I wasn’t going to go one day without being paid because the CEO wanted to restructure during the holidays.

My attitude about life happening to me has changed. I take what comes at me and I handle it. Rather than sit in the “why me” thoughts, I figure out how I can improve my future.

My personal attitude has changed as well. I really, really don’t want to admit it, but I was that “poor me”, “why me”, negative Nancy victim of a person. I never have admitted it before. But I now see that I was. I’ve been ashamed of it because I didn’t want to be that person. I didn’t know anything different though.

I learned this mentality from my parents. It is the primary mentality that was demonstrated for me during my childhood. And because it was, I adopted it unknowingly. Even when I complained about my parents doing it and I thought I was better, I was doing it.

It has taken years of internal thought work to realize where my attitude was and how I could change it. I subconsciously let my parents attitude affect my attitude. I let them and other people through those people’s opinions define my attitude.

Jim Rohn said “No other person on Earth has dominion over our attitude. People can affect our attitude by teaching us poor thinking habits or unintentionally misinforming us or providing us negative influences, but no one can control our attitude unless we voluntarily surrender control.”

I would personally like to change that to “unless we voluntarily or involuntarily surrender control.” Why? Because I do believe that our subconscious mind can be controlled without us voluntarily giving that control away. It may or may not be intentional by the other person, but I believe it can happen.

With that being said, Jim Rohn’s statement made me think, “who have I voluntarily given control to?”

A lot of people. The jackass who cut me off on the highway. My parents outlook on life. My sister who I’m afraid to completely open my life to because of past issues when we were both in different mindsets and our own personal hell. My husband who has different views on recycling building up on the counter. My friend who I feel pushed me away when she was going through a really shitty time in life and didn’t want me to know what I know and keep locked up. The CEO who made the decision to lay people off right before Christmas. The alcohol that affected my ability to control my emotions. The person who gets drunk and tells me every single thing I’m doing wrong as part of the family.

The list can go on and on. I let people and situations affect my attitude. I gave control away. I had no self-knowledge of what was happening. My personal attitude was not my own.

As I have developed more and more self-awareness and self-knowledge, I have learned to take back control over my attitude. I have begun to make better choices and better decisions for myself. I have been able to assess situations to determine my personal attitude. My attitude is the one thing that determines my potential and what I focus on. If I’m not in control of my attitude, I’m not in control of my potential.

As I continue on my self-awareness and self-development journey, I will continue to take back more and more control over my attitude. My attitude about the past, the now, and the future depends on my ability to be self-aware and my ability to accept full responsibility for my attitude and feelings.

I am the only person in control of my destiny and I am the only person in control my attitude shaping that destiny.

You Are in Control of What You Accept

Each and every day we control what we allow into our lives and what we don’t. We allow that boss to be a dick to us. We allow the person who cut us off in traffic to get on our nerves. We allow ourselves to be nitpicky at our spouses for not taking out the trash. We allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the number of emails in our inbox.

We are allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed and burnt out as long as we don’t take any steps to change it. We are allowing people to be asshats and be disrespectful as long as we don’t stand up for ourselves. We are accepting it because we think we can’t control it.

We can’t control other people, that’s right. But we can control how we respond to other people and situations that we face.

I used to be queen of accepting others being complete bitches to me. I didn’t have a clue how to stop accepting their shitty treatment. All I knew was that I didn’t like confrontation and didn’t want to cause any problems. So I let other people roll over me again and again.

I still don’t like confrontation and I still suck at standing up for myself. What I have improved at is directing a conversation away from topics that will cause someone to bully me or disrespect me in any way.

One such way I’ve done that over the years is by cutting off all communication with my father. I really don’t even like admitting he is my father, it just feels wrong. He is a drug addict alcoholic who only cares about himself. I stood up for myself and didn’t allow him at my wedding. He didn’t have my contact information for years. Then one day, he got into his mother’s phone and got my phone number. In fact, he took it a step further and texted me from her phone telling me he was going to text me from his phone and that he acknowledged that my grandmother told him no.

He did text me. He sent me some very hurtful messages. Hurtful for me and hurtful for my grandmother. Those texts challenged my resolve. They challenged me to give into his, most likely drug-induced, self-pity rant that he was trying to spin as caring-ish about me. Those texts challenged my anger control.

After reading and rereading the texts and meditating on them, I shared them with my husband and sister and was able to simply have the reaction of ‘wow, he is going there.’

I was not willing to accept the self-pitying, cry for attention that he was exhibiting. I didn’t respond. I archived the text and moved on with my day. I was not willing to accept that kind of hell back into my life.

I am really good at controlling what I accept with some things and some people and really horrible with other things and people. I don’t have it all figured out. I still can get into an emotional or angered state depending on specific people and situations. But I have gotten better at protecting my peace and what I accept with quite a few people and situations.

For me, it all started with breaking free from those who continued to bring me down as I was trying to start my life. I stopped accepting so many things just out of high school. I worked really hard to stop accepting more over the years by building up walls. Once my walls were shattered, I had to relearn how to protect my peace and really determine what I would and would not accept in my life.

I’ve stumbled over and over again. For me, it always comes back to wanting to feel loved and needing to be shown that love, and my impatience. These two topics are what challenges my resolve on what I accept.

I have only gotten to where I am today with knowing what I will and won’t accept by doing the hard work and cutting people and things out of my life. One step at a time. One day at a time. One change at a time.

Today I can say with 85 percent confidence, I am absolutely in control of what I am accepting. The other 15 percent is me allowing my lack of control to go through the growth and learning that I still have left to do. My growth and my learning will never end, but controlling what I accept will become easier and easier.