“Make peace with yourself, because your worst enemy lives between your own two ears.” – Unknown.
We have all heard growing up “Your mind is your biggest enemy.” And, while I didn’t pay much attention to it when I was a kid, I do realize the kind of weight the phrase held as I grew up. The feeling of being drained with these useless and repetitive thoughts has become a norm in everyone’s lives.
What is even more hilarious is that we often act as experts helping others overcome their shackles but fail to liberate ourselves from similar confinements. And, while you are sitting there on your living room couch trying to figure out the best way to jailbreak these constraints, there’s only one lingering thought plaguing the back of your mind, “Is there a quick way for unlocking the cage?”
Would you be surprised if I told you that the key to the cage of your mind is in your clutch? You just don’t realize it yet. So, let me help you through it. In this article, I will be sharing the top ways you can escape the cage of your mind and strengthen your mind.
Is Self-Identity the Foundation of This Cage?
How do you define self-identity?
I was recently reading this novel by Lars Fr. H. Svendsen called “A Philosophy of Boredom”, where he states, “Self-identity is inextricably bound up with the identity of the surroundings,” and I think that’s one of the best descriptions.
We develop our self-identity through different phases of growth. It includes who we are as a person, the kind of memories we have had growing up, and the kind of hopes that we nurture in our minds surrounding our future.
Our self-image and self-esteem also contribute significantly to our self-identity. Now, you must be sitting here thinking, “What has our self-identity got to do with the shackles of our mind?”
Well, our self-identity shapes our mind, our thoughts, and the way we perceive things on a day-to-day basis. People’s biases and opinions also contribute to our self-identity, especially depending on how our minds have perceived it.
If the “present you” think that you are weak, chances are that the external feedback that you have received to date has forced your mind to process it as a fact.
But, is there a way to overcome this self-preservation and the restrictive thoughts about one’s self?
Technically, that’s where self-actualization comes into the picture. Let me tell you more about it.
How to Become Your True Self? - Jailbreaking the Cage
In order to understand Self-Actualization, we need to explore the “Hierarchy of Needs” as explained by Abraham Maslow.
Explaining the concept of self-actualization, Maslow states, “What a man can be, he must be.”
According to his theory, Maslow explains that Self-Actualization is what drives and motivates a person of their true potential based on their needs. These propel the personal and creative self-growth of an individual. Maslow’s theory suggests going from down the pyramid to the top, which is the state of self-actualization.
But, what if you did this a little differently? What if you directly aimed for self-actualization and then climbed down the barriers and the steps in the pyramid from there? Why can’t you tap into your optimal potential and strengths and then use that to manage your other needs?
One of the biggest issues that prevent us from setting our journey towards self-actualization is fear. The fear of rejection, the fear of failure, the fear of societal obligations, and so on. It's one of the biggest contributors that further strengthen the lock that cages our minds.
How to Overcome and Escape the Cage of Your Mind?
We are all gilded by the fear of rejection and failure. The constant chants of “What will people think if I do this?” made a permanent residence in my mind growing up. I couldn’t escape these ruminating thoughts and I am sure you can’t as well.
And, that’s fine, provided that you are working on overcoming them. There’s no point in letting your fear succumb to your potential because you are meant for something bigger. And, it's time that you take note of that.
Let me walk you through a few quick tips to escape the mind cage that I personally swear by as a life-leadership coach.
1. Cultivate The Courage You Have Suppressed Till Now
Comfort zone. Sounds like a cozy nook in your mind that’s probably adorned with fairy lights, a warm fireplace, and slow jazz music in the background. We all revel in it. But, do you realize how destructive it is?
“The only time you are actually growing is when you are uncomfortable,” is a very popular quote by T. Harv Eker that was published in the bestselling book, The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.
And, how true is that though. Your growth is directly proportional to the opportunities you grasp. But, you are never likely going to reach out for any opportunities if your mind is still snugly fitted into the comfort zone.
Buckle up the courage, pick apart your mind and grasp onto that opportunity that makes you uncomfortable now but thankful in the future.
2. Take Responsibility for your Actions
“I think I shouldn’t have done that.” But, why? Did you stop to ask yourself why? Why do you think it was wrong? What could have been done differently?
If you want to escape the cage of your mind, you need to understand the WHY and then take responsibility for it.
When you accept the responsibility for your actions, you are more likely going to do something about it instead of regressing into the complexities of your mind.
Amy Cuddy in her novel, “Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenge” phrases a sentence, “Presence isn’t about pretending to be competent; it’s about believing in and revealing the abilities you truly have. It’s about shedding whatever is blocking you from expressing who you truly are. It’s about tricking yourself into accepting that you are indeed capable.”
And, that’s what your mind needs to process to work through the confines and cages, despite the hurdles and the challenges that cloud your way.