From the moment we enter kindergarten, we learn that life is an evaluation. We validate and confirm who we are based on how others define us- funniest, smartest, most likely to be successful, perfect attendance, most likable, most talented. We enter coloring contests before we can even color inside the lines then learn that chaotic, creative colors outside boundaries are sub-par. We receive grades before we even know simple math or how to write- how does one even judge construction paper cut outs and shapes of imagination? Even as babies we are judged – such a good baby that hardly ever cries or that child – he was such a difficult baby! Almost right out of the womb, we are defined in comparison to others. How do we measure up?
The focus on measuring up is expanded exponentially when we enter the workforce with interviews that determine our fit and worth, reviews that judge performance, metrics that turn us into a number – reducing us to machines that do more, faster, better.
And finally, how do you measure up as a trans person? Has your transition been successful? Did you grow enough facial hair? Is your face soft enough or your demeanor feminine enough? Do people see you as being “woman enough” or “man enough”?
How have we let the opinions of others make us who we are? How is it even possible that something external can have any bearing on who we are as individuals? It doesn’t. We choose what value we want to give something. We choose how we want to internalize something – and that’s what it is – the internalization and attachment to subjective, external information. How people perceive us is a reflection of themselves and many times they project onto us what they dislike in themselves.
So, what does it matter what people think of you? Has does that make you, you?
One person might think you are an amazing human being and another person might think you are the worst person they have ever run into. One person may think you are lazy, another person might think you are a real go-getter. So, when there is conflicting information about you, how do you choose what to believe?
How do we create our identity?
The truth is that we are all everything and identity is an illusion. Society teaches us to become attached to a definition of ourselves and furthermore, how we define ourselves is based on comparison. People have used language to label, judge, compare, and draw conclusions about everything around us.
If you feel like a woman inside, you are. If you feel like a man inside, you are. If you feel like neither or both, that is who you are and someone’s perception of you doesn’t change that. Unless you let it.
Those people that say you aren’t man enough or you don’t look enough like a woman- they are just uncomfortable because you don’t fit their definition that makes them comfortable. They are attached to their own identity and you challenge that. That anger – that’s a reflection of who they are on the inside – they are scared.
Empower yourself by choosing who you want to be and let yourself unfold. You are not somebody else’s thoughts or opinions; don’t let them make you their slave.
You are enough.
“When your happiness is dependent upon what is happening outside of you, constantly you live as a slave to the external situation.”-Sadhguru