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Balancing Self and Society: 3 Key Insights to Maintain Individuality

Sunday, June 16, 2024

KandL Coaching Notes/Family/Balancing Self and Society: 3 Key Insights to Maintain Individuality

Embracing authenticity to create your reality

Tell me, when was the last time you looked back on a time in your life and thought, "ew what the heck was I thinking?"

The cringe.
We've all been there.

By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of how this "stress" impacts your relationships and how these moments are a microcosm of what's going on in your life and the problems you are currently struggling with.

Because "individuality, community, and stress" are such complex topics, we will be spending a lot of time together talking about each.

As a mental health practitioner with 11+ years of industry experience between mentoring, coaching, leading manager and director meetings, and learning and development I have made it my mission to help people like you find the relationships you need to succeed in life.

Let's dive into everything you need to know about being true to yourself, finding people you can actually converse with, and how to manage (what shouldn't be) stressful conversations.

1. Understand Your Core Values

Before we dive into stress, we need to recognize what truly matters to you. After all, excess stress comes from the disconnect of where you are and where you want to be. The less you know about yourself and what you want, the further away from your goals you are and the greater your stress levels.

What many people get wrong about "values" is thinking that they can't change them out of looking like a hypocrite.

That's just wrong.

Changing your values is a sign of growth towards who you are becoming. As you learn more about yourself, finances, relationships, etc. things will and should change.

What you value in life shifts with your perspective.

What are things you valued at 17 entering college? Did you go to college for an education towards the career path you're on now? Did the thought of booze, boobs, and spring break excite you more than books and classrooms and lab time? Did you feel like you "had to" because it was the only way your parents taught you to achieve a "better life?"

Now compare that to where you are now. After getting and missing out on the things you wish you had done previously, how have your values changed? Have any stayed the same?

Where is that working for you or working against you and what you want from your life?

2. Develop Self-Awareness

Now that you've asked yourself those questions, think about where you developed these beliefs and ideas from.

You learned these when you were younger watching your parents and family and friends interact in the world. As they are your "perfect examples," you followed their lead. What you experience now is just a modification of those examples.

"Don't like that!"  became "I don't do x, y, nor z."

"I like that!" became "This is just how I've always been."

We often don't know what we want in life and as such, find ourselves in situations we don't care to be in or know how to navigate.

I worked in inpatient rehab at an equine ranch right out of college.

I loved mentoring clients with my knowledge, was a supervisor training and hiring my team, and got to say I worked on a ranch (insert "Yee Yee" and "Yeehaw" here).

After a little more than a year, a modest pay-bump, and another hot Texas summer, I decided it was time for a change in scenery for something more white-collar because that's what you're supposed to do right? Move on and up for more money and more responsibility away from labor and into comfort?

I didn't know and my parents only saw "more money, less driving, less Texas heat - do it."

Then again, I didn't give them the whole picture so they were giving me advice on their limited understanding.

So I took the first job I could that gave me $17.50/hour vs. $15.75/hour (psychology degrees don't pay back student loans for those asking).

I had a "higher" title running intake and bringing in the money for a clinic, technically bigger paychecks, and of course, more stress. Though I was moving up the ladder like you're supposed to!

I barely made it a year before I quit that job, got ghosted by my then girlfriend as she moved states, and dropped out of my Master's program that I had a scholarship to (each of these I can teach life lessons on and will in future notes).

My parents only saw that I was now jobless and I would have to move back in with them while I had friends buying their parents cars and paying off their parents' mortgages. I'm sure my parents weren't too proud to say that their university educated son is moving back in with them... strike one!

My parents didn't like my then girlfriend and the fact that I couldn't even get my own apartment away from them meant that I was nobody to take care of another human being or spending money on others... strike two.

My parents didn't go to grad school so me dropping out because I didn't know what I want felt like I had shamed them...

Strike three... down and out.

As you can see, a lot of my values came from my parents - immigrants from the Philippines who didn't really care for the American approach to finances, relationships, and an over reliance on fast food (bada ba ba ba, I'm not lovin' it).

"Clown" doesn't begin to describe how I felt.

3. Develop Resilience

It took a little over a year for me to realize that I was the root of my struggles and that I took this out on my relationships - work, romantic, family - because I didn't know what I wanted. I didn't have core values to lean on other than money, sex, and shame. Things that will never fulfill you for their own sake.

Looking back, I chose to ignore the signs at the new job because I wanted to move "up" because that's what I was told to do. I traded peace for money.

I was a terrible boyfriend and didn't give her a better option nor a real reason to save the relationship. I traded the security of a relationship out of fear of being alone in my thoughts.

I dropped out of my post-grad program because I didn't actually want to be a licensed professional counselor. I just "had to " follow the path because I was "stuck" with a relatively useless degree because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life like most 17-18 year olds entering college. I traded mental peace for the shame of letting my family down.

See a pattern here? Hindsight is 20/20. If I had known then what I wanted now, maybe I would have made different decisions.

At the same time, you need to go through what you experienced to be who you are right now. I'm not saying that everything happens for a reason, though you need to accept what happened and move forward with all the lessons you can take.

Sitting in the past is useless as that time, great and awful, are gone.

While we will never fully be prepared for what life throws at us, we should have knowledge of our wants and needs to get into and stay out of situations that respectively benefit or harm us.

At the same time do not judge your past self based on your knowledge of the outcomes today. I believe you were trying your best with what you knew then. No one is trying to mess up their life and no one seeks unhappiness.

Understanding your core beliefs and aligning your actions with them can significantly reduce internal conflicts from societal pressures. This alignment helps manage stress and builds your sense of authenticity in your interactions.

So, what will you choose?

To continue masking your true self for the sake of conformity or to embrace your individuality and lead a life that resonates deeply with who you truly are?

Let's make this journey together, learning from each step and building a life that not only looks good on the outside but feels profoundly right on the inside.

To the light inside you,
​​Laurence | KandL Founder

P.s. as the date of this publishing is on fathers' day, I need to recognize my father for being a true dad in all the ways. When I struggled, he was there to pick me up. When I didn't want to get up and out the house to search for jobs, he moved me. When I got angry at myself and took it out on him and his house, he hugged me.

To all the fathers leading boys and girls to become men and women who will change the world for the better, thank you.

You may not hear it now though your kids are proud of you and love you. 

These notes are a summary of 11+ years of experience in mental healthcare, sales failures, marketing lessons, and life experiences to help you transform your thoughts to work for you rather than against you. 

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- Laurence

KandL | Founder

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