Nobody Has the Power to Define You

I would like to tell you a little true story.


Some years ago, when I was still a simultaneous interpreter, I happened to travel to the city where I grew up to translate at a medical conference. The evening before the congress, I was walking in the street when I bumped into the woman who had been my classroom teacher for two years in my early teens. We chatted for a while, catching up a little bit on each other’s lives. Then she asked me what I was doing in town, as she thought I had moved abroad. I told her I was working as a simultaneous interpreter and had a conference the following day.

Her whole expression immediately changed and, scanning me from head to toe, she almost barked: ‘Don’t lie to me. Only very intelligent people can be interpreters. You never were smart enough. So stop lying!

That woman had been my classroom teacher for two whole years. Can you imagine?

That poor woman had never truly seen me. I was so different from everything she had ever experienced, that she could only put me into one of her already known boxes, which happened to be the one in which she placed “not very intelligent students.” No wonder why I was so bored at school! No wonder why I didn’t have good grades! I trusted her judgment and believed myself to be what she showed me of myself. After all, she was supposed to know better!

It wasn’t until a few years later that I moved away and had to fend for myself at college in a foreign country. Nobody knew me. Nobody had any preconceptions, any expectations from me. So I did what I could, which happened to be get excellent grades and from there move on to university.

Unfortunately, many of my classmates and school peers were not given similar opportunities. They remained convinced that the limited vision of another human being defined who they were. And that limited vision was replicated in them, profoundly affecting their growth.

Human beings sometimes grow into the person others see, not into the person they truly are, just because they trust those others so much, for whatever reason. What others of influence reflect back to us can sadly become the image we end up seeing of ourselves.

The good news is that that can change in just an instant. You, like any other human being, have the power to look into yourself and get rid of preconceptions and misinterpretations that have to do with the person you truly are. Stop judging yourself based on what others once believed or said. Look at yourself anew and remove all limitations unwillingly imposed by others. Chances are, they could not see you any other way because of their own limitations.

Give yourself the gift of freedom today. Don’t wait one more day. Just look inside you and stop listening to the words others once said about you. Instead, look for your own words; try and grasp that tiny little voice that sometimes tries to express itself in the back of your head saying…. ‘but…’ Free yourself from old, unwanted burdens and have a fresh look at your real you. What are your TRUE limitations, if any? What are your REAL strengths and virtues? And your talents? What is it that you would definitely like to do with your life? Take control of the person you are now. Give yourself permission to express all those hidden traits to become the being you that were meant to be. I know it might sound scary at first; after all, you’ve been the person you show the world for many years now. But think about it this way… aren’t you tired of never feeling truly happy? You might also need some help to do this. Ask for it. Learn and apply the tools and methods that will make it easier for you to understand yourself better and handle old beliefs. Any good humanologist or coach could help you.

Nobody has the right to tell you who you are. That right is only yours. Nobody has the power to define you but yourself. Reclaim that power now and let that amazingly beautiful being inside you finally be whom it was meant to be.

Enjoy life, ALL of it,

Jessica J. Lockhart – humanology –

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