How To Define Yourself For Yourself and Not Let Other People Define You

To define yourself for yourself and not let other people define you it is important to live your life how you want and not how others expect you to live it.

If you try to let the expectations of others define who you are, chances are that you are never going to feel at peace with who you are as an individual, or with the decisions that you make in your life. No one knows what’s best for you except for you. So why not spend some time figuring out who that is?

This is to provoke thoughts into how you can start to define yourself, understand what matters to you, what motivates you, and what you actually want out of life.

Too often we find ourselves defined by other people, like friends, family, or coworkers. Our experiences with others can impact us and how we see ourselves, but it is the value we assign to these experiences that define us. Not what others say about us or the labels they put on us.

You might find yourself being known as the person who always has the best jokes, or always does their work on time, or is always willing to help others with their problems; but what happens when you don’t feel like being that person? What happens when you want to be your own person?

woman looking at a mirror

What It Means To Define Yourself

Defining yourself is essentially knowing who you are, what you stand for, what your identity is, what rules you stand by, and so on. In essence, it’s knowing who you are as a person. We all have traits and characteristics that shape us as individuals.

A defining trait that shapes our sense of self is our personality type. Our personalities are shaped by a combination of innate characteristics (which we have no control over) and learned or acquired characteristics (which we can change or alter). And those acquired characteristics and things can be used to help you understand who you are, and define yourself for yourself.

When I read over the descriptions of my personality type, there were some things I immediately identified as true. Then there were some not so flattering things that I didn't want to attach to.

After sitting with those less favorable things, it made me understand some of my opportunities for growth and really understand who I am.

family gathering for a group hug demonstrating how you define yourself yourself by your family

Defining Yourself by Family and Upbringing

When we are children, our families are responsible for teaching us how to behave, interact with people, and so much more that often plays a role in our identities as we grow older.

While our upbringing will no doubt impact our beliefs, actions, and the way that we operate in the world, as we grow older it is possible that we will have to unlearn some of the things that we learned. As a result of experiencing others in relationships and friendships, you may find that your thoughts, actions, and possibly your beliefs shift.

Some of your interests may be inherited from your family, while others will come from influences outside of your immediate family.

It is also likely that your family will provide you with a family identity, even if they don’t necessarily force it upon you. When we talk about defining yourself in terms of your family, we are talking about how your family identity can affect who you are as an individual, as well as how being from a certain family may have influenced who you are, and what you carry on into your own family if you decide to have one.

Why It Is Important To Understand Your Personality

We are creatures that are constantly changing. New experiences affect our perspective on things, new input shapes our ideas. If we didn’t change, if our personalities remained static like a fossil in stone, then we would have no need to continue learning; life would be boring.

But because we’re constantly being influenced by experiences, it’s necessary that every once in a while we take time out of our busy days (which are full of distractions) to reflect upon ourselves.

In order to lead a successful life, it’s important that we take time out of our busy days to reflect upon ourselves. It’s important that we ask ourselves, Am I happy with my position in life? What are my values? Who am I as a person? What kind of person do I want to be? How do I want others to experience me?

Additional Reading: Discovering Your Personal Set of Values Leads To Increased Self Awareness

Understanding your personality helps to answer these questions.

women sitting on a couch looking at the notebook defining yourself by friendship

Your Friendships and How They Affect How You Behave and See Yourself

We are heavily influenced by the company that we keep. So whether directly or indirectly, those that we keep around us as friends play a role in who are and who we become.

The same goes with defining who we are as well.

We can be defined by friends. Whether good or bad, we can also be defined by our relationships with others. Our identity is directly tied to how we treat others and even how we allow them to treat us back. That is why I believe that when it comes down to what makes us who we are, relationships play a big role in our personal definition of ourselves.

It is important to have people around you that help you to operate at your highest potential and bring out the good in you.

The older I get, however, I realize that while we need others in our lives (we all want some form of social interaction and connection). But we do need some time alone as well.

Defining ourselves by friends is one thing but also defining ourselves by being true to ourselves is equally important. We are bombarded with messages throughout our lives about what success looks like or how we should live our lives. It is important that we find ways to be true to ourselves and never lose sight of what makes us unique individuals even within our friendship groups.

Define Yourself by Your Personality

There are so many different personality types, and while I am an enthusiast of them, they are only a part of the whole person that you are.

Understanding your personality is important because it can help guide your career path, love life, and even general outlook on life. If you understand your strengths and weaknesses, it can help guide you to live a happier life by understanding who you are as a person.

Understanding your personality is about how you see yourself versus how others see you. Personality tests can be used for self-reflection, which can help find out who you are inside.

There are many different types of personality tests, including Myers-Briggs, Strengthsfinder, and many others. Each will give your strengths and weaknesses in a unique way that can be useful in understanding who you are on an intimate level.

Surely there are aspects of your life that cannot be explained by only looking at your personality.
Defining yourself by your personality is a small piece of a larger puzzle that makes up who you are.

Define Yourself by Hobbies

Hobbies are a great way to define yourself for yourself.

The things you enjoy doing in your spare time say a lot about who you are. Not just as a person, but within your different life roles.

They can help you boost your creativity, feel better about yourself, spend time with friends or family members, or even give you some free time during stressful periods. So if your job is bogging you down with paperwork, ask yourself what’s important to you outside of work.

If your career isn’t fulfilling, think about ways that it could be. For example, maybe your job is too structured or doesn’t provide enough variety. Or maybe it pays poorly and you aren’t able to save money on a regular basis. Maybe your boss isn’t good at leading or encouraging employees. Or maybe work-life balance isn’t a priority in your office culture.

white ceramic cup on map demonstrating defining yourself by where you are from

Define Yourself by Where You Are From

In order to have true confidence, it’s important that we each find comfort in our own skin. A big part of that is having a sense of identity. We often tie who we are as individuals to where we come from. Associating it with things like where we were born, what schools we attended, etc. Where you are from plays a huge role in defining your personality, your values, and shaping who you are.

The old saying you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl is a perfect example of how your geography plays a large role in defining who you are. What do you love about where you grew up? How did it shape your personality? How did it affect your ambitions, goals, and dreams.

Additional Reading: How to Make Sure Your Goals and Values Align

Where you are from plays a part in who you are just as much as how you were raised.

Define Yourself by your beliefs

Every belief system contains a set of values. When you define yourself using a belief system, it is a way to express your personal values.

Think about it – if you are a Christian, then your faith in God is something that defines you as an individual. If you are an environmentalist or have strong political beliefs, then those things also define who you are as a person.

A belief system is something that most everyone has, but not everyone is clear on their personal beliefs and values. Spend some time considering what motivates you in life and why. Look at the reason behind why you do the things that you do.

Understanding what you believe and what you value is very important to understanding who you are and truly defining yourself.

Define Yourself in your own words

Rather than letting others tell you who you are, or whether or not you’re good enough, take a moment to sit down and reflect on who you really are. What drives your ambitions? How would you describe your personality? How do feel about life in general?

Every human being is unique. That’s a fact. But it’s also more than just a fact, it’s also an opportunity.

Defining who you are and what’s important to you doesn’t just help others understand who you are. It also forces you to take a step back, evaluate your life and give yourself a much-needed reality check. Which then sets you on a path to make decisions and act in a way that supports what you want, who you truly are, and what is most important to you.

What Happens if You Don’t Choose to Identify Yourself How You Want

If you don't take steps to define who you want to be, your subconscious will direct your decisions.

Your subconscious is taking in your environment and the people you hang out with. It's creating an identity for you. The risk with that is that you could be taking in a bunch of negative experiences and letting them define you without realizing it.

If your friends are alcoholics, gamblers, drug addicts, materialistic, or simply negative in any way. It’s likely that you’ll pick up those traits from them just by spending time with them.

Many of your beliefs will also come from your subconscious. It’s no wonder that most people never step back and realize they are stuck in a cycle of self-defeat. It’s because they don’t even know how they became that way.

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I’m TaKenya

I HELP WOMEN succeed in life and business

Fueled by equal parts oat milk lattes and passion alike, I spend my days coaching, building things, researching, and figuring out ways to help women change the world while finding, understanding, and loving themselves and their unique individuality.   

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TaKenya Hampton/On The Grow Up LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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