Don’t Define Yourself By What You’re Not


I find it fascinating that people are usually described, initially at least, by a brief summary of their physical attributes and anything else that is outwardly recognizable. The first things we tend to first reach for when explaining someone are their hair color, clothing style, height, weight, job, or other successes. Even when we note that so-and-so is a really great person, that fact usually doesn’t stand alone. It’s sandwiched between other physical descriptors.

But that would make sense, right? Those are the obvious, most easily definable and recognizable things in a person. When we try to paint a picture of someone, we want to use what will best facilitate a visual. I get that. But the problem is that as much as we define other people within those means, I think we can sometimes begin to think of ourselves as being only the summation of what others can perceive.

You are not your hair color. You are not your choice of clothing. You’re not your height, weight or job or degree of education. More importantly, you’re not your mistakes. You’re not defined by the things that make you human, otherwise known to some as “flaws.” The physical are just descriptors that make you easier to identify by others, they don’t define who you are.

You are whatever touches your soul more deeply than anything. You are who you love. You are the music that makes you cry. You are the daydreams your mind trails off to. You are your favorite food. You are your deepest desires. You are what you want to bring to the world. You are the silly jokes that make you laugh. You are how you treat other people, especially people who don’t and can’t do anything for you in return. You are anything and everything that touches you and changes you from your core.

I’ve noticed that people tend to fall into two categories in this respect, and I usually see it when I’m having a conversation with someone. There are those who focus on what they’re saying, and those who focus on how they appear while saying it. As a disclaimer, it’s not to say that everybody in the world falls into either category, we’re all too diverse for such simple generalizations, so I apologize for that. Also, it’s not a matter of seeing that someone is using an abnormally astute vocabulary and is dressed well that would determine whether or not they are trying to seem intelligent and put-together.

It’s that when someone is focused on what they’re saying, it’s apparent that they feel they have something to bring to the table. Their faces express emotion congruent to what they are saying. It’s clear that they are, for the majority of the time, focusing on just what they are saying, not how they are being received by others. The conversation moves beyond the superficial, and there is truly thought behind their words. They are not speaking just for the sake of appearing one way or another or impressing anyone. They are speaking from their depths, and they realize that they aren’t what the world will take them to be.

If everyone was blind, how would you be described?

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