I have seen people admire a person so much that you began to imitate the person; study their facial expressions, gestures, and even take on their lifestyle, etc. The most fascinating part of this to me is that with no mirror present you believe you look like this person; sometimes going as far as believing you are that person. If anyone does this long enough you'll slowly lose sight of the person that you are; it is almost inevitable. I know this to be true because even I have done it as a child and teenager.
Compromising who you are in different environments and social settings for social acceptance and all other reasons can cost you greatly. All the twisting, turning, and altering can make you a chameleon. The catch-22 about this is; you can fit in anywhere without standing out but, the problem is you also can go unnoticed when it's time to be seen. The chameleon’s gift becomes its curse. We all conform to mainstream ideals to remain comfortable in society. However, keeping a strong sense of self is priceless. Our uniqueness is in our individuality, it’s what sets us apart. These qualities are in fact what makes us special. It is wiser to perfect oneself rather than be the best copy of an original, which devalues your worth.
I now equate this to ATM transactions and I call it the “ATM theory”. If you make a withdrawal from “your branch” it will be a free transaction. However, if you were to withdraw from a branch that is not your own; there is a fee attached to this transaction. Now this fee may not seem like much and doesn't affect you at the moment but it does add up, and with enough withdrawals, there is a penalty for this. Learning your “branch” is one of the best things you can do for your “account” and making deposits into it of course. Your branch being you and your account being your character.
Self-appreciation isn't something that comes naturally to all the people, in some cases it must be learned. A lack of appreciation for one's self can be linked to self-worth. We as humans tend to not appreciate the things that we don't find value in, deeming them worthless. There is no mirror to see your resilience, dedication, and resolve. Your patience and persistence. And, as the saying goes “out of sight, out of mind”. While these qualities are not always noticeable to the naked eye and may be overlooked, they are extremely valuable and can be considered “intangible assets”. These assets are not physical in nature but are just as important, if not more important than the other facets of a product or brand. Acknowledging and accepting yourself for all that you embody is vital, this is the only way to begin working on the areas that you feel need adjustment. It is imperative that just as you acknowledge faults and shortcomings, you embrace your merits and strengths. Let acknowledgment and acceptance serve as the mirror of your inner self.
Feelings such as fear and doubt need to be identified and monitored closely. All negative traits, tendencies, and dispositions need to be. As it is a strength to know your weaknesses. Let's face it, negative feelings and emotions are real and can be strong, even overwhelming at times. We can't just wish them away, they must be faced and reflected upon in the mirror of acknowledgment. Through this practice, we build ourselves and will begin to notice new strengths in our character. There is no greater intel to have other than the knowledge of self. This information is a great starting point when curious about how to proceed in most matters. Knowing how you perceive obstacles, how to respond to adversity, or how you react in certain situations allows you to make decisions from a place of understanding. It is easy to let a situation provoke you into responding outside of your character. And, doing so can be more harmful than it is helpful. Use the concepts and tools of this chapter to help tune a closer relationship with yourself. One based upon love, acceptance, truth, and understanding. First discover, second acknowledge, and most importantly appreciate the greatness that resides within you. Remember, you are your own brand. And, you are your own branch. You are the product and account. Protect your brand, learn it. Visit it often. Never forget how it looks inside