Life in the 21st century often seems to be calling us to become better, different, more hip, my technologically savvy, or more of anything else that's currently trendy. In the media, there's no end to advice urging us to live life in a different or better way, and it can be exhausting keeping up with the chattering demands.
Who Are You?
This constant maelstrom of advice and cajoling to be different than we really are means that we need to be very clear about who we are. It's only with an intact sense of self that we can tune out the noise and the voices calling for us to change or be different.
So, who are you? How do you define yourself?
You may see yourself as a father, mother, sister, wife, husband or friend. You may define yourself by your diabetes, your PTSD, your chronic pain or any other illness or condition with which you live.
You may also define yourself by your work. You may say, "I'm a nurse" or "I'm a writer" or "I'm a teacher".
All of these are valid enough, but the rubber really hits the road when you choose to define yourself based on your beliefs and values. That often means much more than how you bring home a paycheck.
What Are Your Values?
Your values may include your religious or spiritual beliefs, your upbringing and cultural identity, your race, or your gender identification.
Depending on what you do for a living, your profession or career may also contribute to your values. Perhaps you work with battered women or homeless children, and those experiences greatly reflect or inform your value system.
Being aware of your values can help you to resist calls for you to be different based on cultural pressure or societal norms, and that can even impact how you approach your health and your self-care and wellness.
Being Yourself As A Healthcare Consumer
As a healthcare consumer, you're faced with many "shoulds" every day. The medical/healthcare authorities tell you that you "should" eat more grains, decrease your dairy, increase your dairy, decrease your sugar, watch your carbs, exercise this way or that way, or otherwise change what you're doing.
Your religious beliefs or cultural values may directly effect how you make healthcare decisions, and that's part of knowing and honoring yoru beliefs and values, and sometimes going against medical advice when you see another path.
For instance, you may have cancer for which chemotherapy is being recommended, but you loathe the idea of chemo and want to go the alternative route. Plenty of people will try to talk you out of it, but in the end it's your body and your decision to make.
Being strong and determined in the face of medical authority isn't easy, so knowing yourself as well as you can will help you be determined when determination is called for.
It's All About You
It's really all about you. How you care for your diabetes, what you eat for breakfast, when or if you exercise, and how you go about your day is entirely your call.
Explore your values, learn as much about yourself as possible, stick to your guns when it's called for, and bend with the wind when it's for the best.
Self-knowledge is one of the keys to personal freedom and taking complete responsibility for your life. Go forth, increase your self-knowledge, and be yourself to your heart's content.