You Are Not The Way You Are

Posted by Jacinta Hin on November 29, 2010

Do you sometimes dismiss a well-meaning suggestion and justify your behavior with words like, “that’s just the way I am!”

If so, I’ve got news for you. You are not the way you think you are.

This is because a response like the one above is just a behavior pattern you have adopted, for whatever reason, at some point in your life. It’s become so familiar and comfortable, you now totally identify with it. It has become your refuge, your personal territory of un-debatable absolute knowing.

Ironically, the opposite behavior is often where your strengths lie and your true self comes to light.

Let me take myself as an example.

By nature (that is, by comfort zone) I’m introverted, rather shy and guarded. I don’t show much of myself to others. In conversation I tend to take the role of the listener. I avoid talking about myself and am very good in directing attention away from me.

While my tendency is to be closed, I’m at my best when I’m open and vulnerable. That’s when I grow and when I really connect with other people. I become resourceful, inspired and creative. When I open up, I open the doors necessary for my real self to come out.

And to freely go in and out, those doors need to stay unlocked. I have to become comfortable and masterful in opening up, which is not easy for me. It does not happen on demand. And it does not always happen just from talking with others.

Through trial and error I discovered that physical movement is helpful. Not the gracious moves of dance or yoga, but a more extreme and forceful version. Movement that pulls me out of my comfortable inner space and requires me to go outwards and mentally surrender. For me, kickboxing and windsurfing serve that purpose; these are sports where holding back is not an option.

Boxing helps me break through mental and physical barriers. With each punch and kick I unleash a primordial energy that has been longing to get out. The power of my blows often surprises me.

Surfing forces me to face fear and to surrender completely. Each time I get on my board my heart pounds like a mad woman. Those first moments I’m always scared. Scared of the unpredictable wind, of drowning, of not being able to manage my equipment and return to the shore. I’m tensed and wonder why on earth I expose myself to such torture. Until I take a deep breath and let myself go, finding balance and falling into a state of physical, emotional and mental openness and expansiveness.

Engaging in activities that seemingly go against our so-called nature helps break down those pillars of self belief that keep us contained in our shell.

For me, it’s an intense, outwardly-focused physical movement that helps relax my guard and open up.

Someone with an overactive mind or an over reliance on external orientation might benefit from going inwards through meditation, yoga or a similar quiet activity. Sitting in stillness and silence, or the inner-focused movements of yoga might help them find their way through all that internal and external chatter. They can learn to shut down superfluous noise and discover calmness and clarity at their core.

Next time you hear yourself say ‘that’s just the way I am’, ask yourself if that’s really true. Or just list all of your self-limiting labels and pick one you’re ready to challenge. Which one is holding you back and preventing you from making changes?

And what would be the counter-intuitive thing to do? What opposite behavior, if put into practice, could make a real difference in your life? Which activity could help develop this? What habit could you cultivate that would bring you closer to yourself?

Remember, you are not your behavior. Behavior is a choice.


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4 Comments so far
  1. Dilip November 29, 2010 4:58 pm

    Hi Jacimta,
    Make it small.
    iike your opinion.

  2. Petya Lowe December 6, 2010 9:08 am

    Thank you Jacinta for sharing this! Love your comment on ‘by nature = comfort zone’. So true that we often ‘settle for less’ and ‘argue for our limitations’. Thank you for the reminder and here we go kicking and punching into 2011 ;-))

  3. Angela Jeffs ( December 6, 2010 11:29 pm

    You are not the way you think you are… so true. We become who we become, due to family circumstances, upbringing, choices made etc.We put on armour to survive and defend ourselves and forget who who we really are, hence so much of DOTWW is about remembering who you born to be and what you were born to do. Re-programming yourself.

    I suppose the classic example is the comedian, who covers up the very worst insecurities by making people laugh. The most successful are often the ones who commit suicide, because their internal pain bodies suffer so intensely.

    I admire the way you have opened up, the courage you display, the insights you provide, both to your self and others Onwards and upwards into 2011.

  4. Vivek Singh January 27, 2011 5:18 pm

    “You Are Not The Way You Are” ..its so true…
    i have forgetten wat i was …
    wat i am today, i dont know weather its good or bad…
    keep it up Jacinta…
    its always good to read your Articles.

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