When I was younger and I hear people call my mum Mama Tayo, I used to think it was so because I was the first born until sometime later when I noticed that some people also call her Mama Seun, and then it dawned on me that people will always define you by their opinion. This basis therefore triggered some questions in me, which are:
Is other people’s opinion about you the right one?
Would you rather believe their definition of you or define who you are yourself?
To answer these questions, anyone’s opinion of you is mostly not the conclusive one, because people base their definition on the perspective of you they know or the one they assumed fits you. For example, the illustration above, calling my mum ‘Mama Tayo’ or ‘Mama Seun’ is right but not conclusive; because the true representation of my mum is ‘Mama TayoTobiSeun’. At this point I have either succeeded at being funny or confused you, but relax and stay with me….we are going somewhere with this. To decisively define you, there are some elements you need to consider.
KNOW YOURSELF: To truly define YOU, I think you owe it to yourself first to know who you really are, your thought process and pattern. To put it simply, knowing yourself ranges from easy important questions like; what kind of food do I like, what subject interests me, do I like to sleep twelve or eight hours a day, do I assimilate well at night or during the day, what do I think about, what are my reaction to my thinking etc. There are also some advanced questions that you need ask yourself to have in-depth knowledge on the real YOU like; Who am I, What am I passionate about, why am I here etc. You are probably thinking what your favourite food and sleeping time has got to do with defining YOU, honestly it is more crucial part than you consider it, because when you know the foods you like, you can design an healthy diet which keeps you healthy for maximum productivity and also your sleep pattern will help you narrow down the jobs you can do, for example you can’t be an ‘OAP’ on an overnight show when you know your body shuts down at night, you can’t do an office 8am-5pm job when you know your body wakes up at noon.
KNOW YOU CORE VALUES: Your core values plus the skill you acquire during your life time determines how successful you will become, therefore it is important to know your core values. Your core values may be integrity, courage, tenacity, respect, loyalty etc. You need to have a mental list or write down some of these personal values and act them out in your daily life. Therefore, if respect is one of your personal core values, don’t sit while an elderly person is standing, offer them your sit, or if courage is on that list, then stand up every day and face your fears head-on.
KNOW YOUR PURPOSE: This is really important because it tends towards the advanced questions I talked about earlier. In an honest effort to define yourself, you have to understand your purpose; why am I created or what was I born to do. As simple as this sound, this is where a lot of us miss it because we live our lives for ourselves without positive impacts on others, forgetting that our lights are meant to shine so that others can see with it.
Let me use this very familiar example:
“A man fell into a pit and couldn’t get himself out.
A subjective person came along and said, “I feel for you down there.”
An objective person came along and said, “It’s logical that someone would fall down there.”
A Christian Scientist came along and said, “You only think you’re in the pit.”
A Pharisee said, “Only bad people fall into a pit.”
Confucius said, “If you would have listened to me you wouldn’t be in that pit.”
Buddha said, “You’re pit is only a state of mind.”
A realist said, “That’s a pit.”
A scientist calculated the pressure necessary, pounds and square inches, to get him out of the pit.
A geologist told him to appreciate and study the rock strata.
An evolutionist said, “You are a rejected mutant destined to be removed from the evolutionary cycle, in other words he is going to die in the pit so he can’t produce any more pit falling offspring.”
The country inspector said, “Did you have a permit to dig that pit?”
A professor gave him a lecture on the elementary principles of the pit.
A self-pitying person said, “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen my pit.”
An optimist said, “Things could get worse.”
A pessimist said, “Things are going to get worse.”
From the illustration, one can deduce that all of them had their opinion of this man in the pit but none of them was actually in the pit with him, so they can’t possibly feel the pain and despair this man is going through. For this man to prove them all wrong and define himself he has to turn that despair and pain into positive energy, dust himself up and climb out of that pit triumphantly.
In essence, you have to realise that only you understands YOU and the situation you are going through, so it is imperative that you don’t let the negative circumstance and comments around you rule your identity; rather it should bring to the fore those positive core values within and give you the name you want the world to call you.
The truth of the matter is that there are thousands of Tayo, Chichi, Nonso and Musa all over but what is that unique quality that distinguish you from your name sake next door. Define yourself/ Define who you are.
P.S: Defining yourself gives you Freedom from being trapped in other people’s opinion.
And remember no one has the right to define you except you let them….
Hasta la Vista….
Babalola Michael Omotayo