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  • Sugimoto Shoujin

How your opinion of yourself defines who you are

We all face issues. We all face setbacks that hold us back in life.

Sometimes, they can make us feel dejected, unmotivated, sad or even downright broken. In times like this, we either have the option to let it control us or to control how we respond to the event.

It is up to us to decide if we are to make the responsible decision of picking ourselves up or to take the easier way out. Most people lack the courage to face our biggest issue in life - ourselves.

Me vs Myself

Most people go through life unconsciously. We don’t take a moment to realise and observe our patterns of thinking and our natural reactions. For change to happen, we have to be self-aware to modify the beliefs and patterns of thinking that are not serving us.

Many of our beliefs are preconditioned - learned from our past experiences. If we were rejected by our parents countless times, we naturally avoid challenges in life because we do not want to experience rejection again. For change to happen, we require courage and a vision for who we want to be. Courage to step out of our comfort zone and to be vulnerable to experiencing the unfamiliar.

Because of our self-limiting beliefs, many people don’t even reach their full potential in life. But we must understand that to achieve more means to live outside of who you think you are.

Who you think you are is not who you are.

But what you do reflects who you think you are.

What does this mean? It means that people live their lives out of their idea of themselves, not who they actually are most of the time.

  • A person can identify himself as evil. So he hurts people. This validates his opinion of himself.

  • A person can be hardworking but believe that she is unintelligent. Thus, she refuses to study.

  • A person can be good at sports but believe that he is not good enough to compete. Thus, he does not enter a competition.

Essentially, life is a game between you and your mind. Thus, exercising control over your mind to achieve the things you want to achieve is vital.

Have you ever wondered why some people treat others well while some people treat others badly?

Bullies reflect their insecurities and poor opinion of themselves by behaving defensively to the offensive opinions they make about themselves. They do so by hurting others before others can hurt them.

When A makes an opinion of B, it reflects what A thinks about himself, rather than who B actually is in reality.

Hurt people hurt people.

Empathetic people listen and will do anything to be there for someone who is suffering because they know what it is like to be helped and be supported.

Healed people heal people.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Once we form an opinion of ourselves based on an experience or interaction we had at a point in our lives, it can be hard to let go of it because it is the best idea of ourselves that we have.


If I was isolated as a child and no one wanted to play with me, then I am unlikeable.


You try to please others because you think that you are not good enough for others and the only way to win others over is by putting up a false image.

Weird Fact: When we form an assumption about ourselves, we tend to behave in a manner that validates the opinion. That’s the fascinating thing about psychology.

If John takes an MBTI test and it shows that he is 99% Introverted, he is more likely to behave in accordance with this belief, so he is unlikely to go around laughing and talking to everybody in school. John then chooses to sit by himself in class. Now, John has made himself an Introvert.

But who decides if someone is introverted and extroverted, stupid or smart, caring or selfish? None of these is black and white. One can choose to be introverted or extroverted. One can be academically less intelligent but extremely musically or athletically intelligent. Remember that all improvement and change spawn from a change in belief about yourself and your abilities.

Changing your opinion of yourself

Changing your opinions and beliefs can be uncomfortable and dreadful. Sometimes you just want to cling onto them because they feel so familiar. But change only happens when the desire to change becomes greater than the desire to remain the same. The desire to be greater has to come from within yourself.

You are not the same dependent, incapable and naive person you were when you created that opinion about yourself. You have changed and you are a different person. You have experienced more things, learned more lessons and you have improved. Many people, myself included, are still living to some extent tied to some emotional wound from the past and defining ourselves based on an opinion that we formed about ourselves in our early days. But we need to accept that we are not the same person anymore.

Moving on

Reflect on yourself and look back on the ways you have grown and changed. Until it becomes clear that you are not the same person that you were when you formed that self-limiting belief, keep reflecting.

Think about the things that you should be proud of achieving and your good qualities.

What value are you adding to other people’s lives?

Accept your strengths. Build on them.

Think about that one time when you realised your true potential.

Are you the same person you were 5 years ago? How have you changed as a person?

Do you still have the same beliefs about yourself compared to before? Is it helping you? Is it time to let them go?

What we do is a reflection of how we view ourselves.

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