Resisting Influence

(by Rhenaiya Jesson)

Remove all the outside influence on my existence and you find a happy beautiful woman simply enjoying her femininity. This is a very important thing considering I was born male and can remember a time when such a pleasure was seldom achieved.

The influences we are subjected to by our family, friends, media and society in general are undeniable and will continue to be there regardless of what we do. It is how we choose to acknowledge these influences that will determine their effects on us. Though the standards, beliefs, fears and doubts of others are separate from our own, they can easily manifest within us and become entwined in an inner conflict.

The most stressful moments of my life I can attribute to such conflicts. The fears of my parents and friends are pitted against my own hopes and dreams. Unchecked, such fears can become inhibitors. I have had my confidence smashed to pieces by the concern of those who care about me and consequentially found myself on more than one occasion unable to take even a first step towards a personal goal. Though it would be easy to deny any responsibility for my behavior and point the blame at others, I know it is by my own doing that I permit myself to be influenced in such a way.

It is very much the same in regards to the standards and traditions of society. The media puts forward and ideal representation of what a person ought to be like, society in turn passes judgment on itself by this measure. Like religion, the media tries to tell us the difference between right and wrong, what can be deemed beautiful or ugly, and fails miserably at defining us. It comes as no surprise to me, knowing full well the vastness of human ability and limitless combinations of personality. It is again up to us how we will allow such outside influence to affect our behavior. A person merely has to examine any modern trend to see the way media can control a persons actions and the choices they make.

It would seem appropriate that the best way to deal with outside influences such as these would be to ignore them or avoid them but I feel this is a naïve and unrealistic solution. We cannot segregate from society and those close to us in order to protect our own beliefs and ideals. A better method to react to such influences would be to identify them for what they truly are and then to remember why we choose to think differently. Even within the transgendered community, the beliefs and ideals of one person simply cannot reflect those of the entire group.

The more we embrace each others diversity and respect individuality, the easier it will be to accept our own.

Comments

This is very insightful Rhennea, thank you for posting. I believe you are saying that we should resist internalizing external influences without first questioning their origin and determining if they contribute positively to our direction as an individual. Rather than taking ownership of others' standards, beliefs, fears, we should recognize that these are coming from some outside perspective which may not be right for us individually. If we can respect the diversity of individuality and view perspectives from others in such light, we can come to greater appreciation of our own personal uniqueness.

There is much to be said for individuality, and I agree that diversity should be celebrated. Ideally there would be a balance between individuality and human interaction. At some extent and degree in the pursuit of individuality, one becomes less unaware of the needs of others, possibly unable to reach out or find common ground. The result of too much focus on "self" is the loss of connection with the collective support of family, friends, groups. This could result in a feeling of isolation. There is a balance between self actualization and collective interaction, and each person must find themselves at some point that is comfortable and healthy for them.

"To thine own self be true" applies in any case where the outside influence would smash your confidence or would inhibit you from taking steps towards your goals. My heart goes out to you for having endured these experiences dear.

It is good that you are pondering the influences on your life, because you are at a formative stage of development. Your gender transition is a phase of self actualization, where your inner girl is now beginning to evolve outwardly from the boy you've appeared as for the past 28 years. You are reinventing yourself. Your individual identity is in transition, so you are carefully examining the influences and messages you are receiving. This seems a very healthy and appropriate thing to do in your circumstances. It is and will always be your choice what to accept as valid and/or right for you, and it’s especially important now. In the absence of such consideration, your individual identity would be formed haphazardly, without conscious thought, and perhaps out of balance.

If we can each identify for ourselves the type of individuality to which we aspire, it is easier to measure whether any one influence contributes positively. It's very important to surround ourselves with positive, supportive people who respect our individuality rather than try to hold us back or enforce their way of thinking. The goal is to avoid influences that hurt us, while seeking influences that help us. It may even be necessary to separate from some people and/or situations, and find new people and environments that are conducive to our positive direction and inner peace.

Again thank you Rhennea for posting this. I enjoyed your article and think you make an excellent point here.

Much love,
Michele
Devi said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Devi said…
Societies and societal mores change with time. Even 'society' is a very restrictive term. There are societies whose relationship with gender expression or sartorial expression differs a lot from what you might be used to. In Thailand, 'ladyboys' don't as far as I know, face open ostracism. In my own native land of India, the part that I'm from has rural areas where men and women wear roughly the same attire, except for the women having a fitted top. Ultimately society needs to recognize the concept that gender identity is distinct from sex (as in classification).

I feel we harm ourselves by being reactionary. I don't remotely mean to sound accusatory, but it takes conscious effort not to use terminology like 'resisting' influence. I believe it is very much important to describe ourselves in the most positive manner possible. If we must create alternatives for existing societal conventions about us, then so be it. Take example of 'gender identity disorder'. There are arguably several things about me that could be considered disorders, such as my utter inability to wake up before 8AM (and much later on weekends), but I certainly don't see my gender identity among them. Providing alternates for such jarring societal conventions is a sociological exercise, and that is essentially what Genderevolve is about anyway.

An in your face assertion of ourselves along the lines of "we're queer and we're here" isn't quite what I'm suggesting either, because first, it goes beyond proactive into the realm of confrontational. I don't think that will help; society has progressed since days when any alternative to age old interpersonal doctrines would be treated severely. Secondly, such an assertion of ourselves will not work simply because the trans world is just so diverse and not everyone is in a position to stand up and assert themselves. The diversity of our world has its advantages and disadvantages - we can't all be stereotyped on one basis, nor can we all necessarily rally on the same subject, unless that happens to be the subject of public acceptance. And finally, well, I can't come up with a sufficiently catchy phrase to match the one the homosexual community used.

It matters not to see ourselves as an embattled minority. We're not. Rather, we're people who have been gifted with something quite extraordinary - the ability and genuine desire to express both genders, or permanently alter our gender expression, as the case may be, during the course of just one life. We can view ourselves positively, and respond to every hurdle in the way as an aspect of society that needs to change, not an aspect that constrains you. Arguably, they mean the same, but the viewpoint we hold can make a huge difference to us and ultimately to how society treats us.
fish said…
Six Steps to Success
Throughout the centuries history tells of men and women with the midas touch, who achieved greatness against what seemed insurmountable odds. To some their successes appeared to be the result of blind luck, to others the reward for hard work, but the truth about the successes of men such as Andrew Carnagie and Henry Ford is much more interesting.

Success is a state of mind to which all people should aspire. Like many others you can unlock te gate to achievement and the fulfilment of yor personal desires. With the six steps outlined below anyone can arrive at a set destination, with the added advantage of renewed self-confidence and secure in the knowledge that every goal is attainable.
Step 1. Desire
The key factor involved in the process of achieving any desire lies in the response of one's mind to the objective. If a complacent attitude is apparent then there will be a lack of enthusiasm leading to failure or only half-success.
If a goal is to be reached determination is needed to carry set plans through to a successful conclusion. This determination must have enough mental 'weight' behind it to propel you forward onto the road of achievement. This mental state can only be instilled by one thing - desire!
As can be easily seen, when we look around us, it is this desire-force that has launched mankind on his frenzied zest for ever-new knowledge and has enabled him to push back the boundaries of science to never dreamed of achievement.

It is this same desire-force that must be used in our business and personal affairs if the success we seek is to materialize. It is not very hard to develop this kind of desire for all you have to do is go after what you really want - its that simple. With this desire you will have all the persistence you need to accomplish your goal. There is a great saying "you never fail until you give up"!
Take heed of what Napoleon Bonaparte said "What we ardently and constantly desire, we always get".

Step 2. Goals
If success is to come your must realise what is expected to materialize. This statement may seem obvious at first but if careful thought is given its meaning takes on deeper significance.
Many people fail to gain satisfactory results from their endeavours because they did not know what they wanted to accomplish in the first place. Your objective must not be hazy or incomplete. Before you reach your goal you must be able to identify how your life will be different when you achieve it. You must know exactly what it is that you want to achieve. How will your life be better/different? How will you feel? What way will you look? What situations will you find yourself in? Will other people in your life be effected and if so how will they react? You need a clear definite picture in your mind of what the attainment of your goal will mean to you.

Step 3. Belief
Belief is the back-up system of desire. It keep the fires of enthusiasm burning and makes us continually strive to get nearer the goal attainment. Faith can truly move mountains; the mountains of fear, inferiority, worry and low self esteem - 'the success killers'!
Once a goal is firmly fixed in mind and our desire-force is hurtling us toward seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the firm belief that we can gain a favourable outcome can spur us on to victory. When the mind has been manipulated to reflect this state, wonderful physical results can ensue, producing symptoms of success in our lives in every area imaginable.
Although many can attest to the power of belief and to the wondrous accomplishments that were achieved through nothing else except faith, it still remains that many individuals find it hard to believe that a positive outcome will be forthcoming when they are faced with momentous opposition. Whether the opposition is mental or physical the fact that nothing seems to be going right and everything seems to be wrong is enough for even the strongest of us to 'throw in the towel'. But it is in these very situations that faith can conquer all. Faith in yourself, what you are doing and belief that that your objective will be reached.
There are some who bemoan "easier said than done". This is exactly the kind of mental attitude that sustains the problems that they are trying to eradicate. If your belief power is not apparent, take hope for it can be acquired.
Each morning and night recite your intentions from a written list of your goals. Voice your belief in your own abilities. Tell yourself that in due course you will be successful. As you go about your daily affairs reflect as often as possible on your goals and affirm that they are yours now. Fool your mind into believing it and you will see your world reflect it!

Step 4. Plan
Having decided upon your goal and being determined to build your faith you need to give your desire-force a 'vehicle' through which it may materialize. This 'vehicle' will take the form of a definite plan of action.
Do you need to acquire certain skills? Do you need to know certain people or be in certain places to help you achieve your goal? Make a plan that will help you get closer to your end objective. Research your desires and get clear on what you need to do. Then do it!
Ensure that your plan is workable and realistic for you. Although your plan should remain flexible so that changes can be made when appropriate only make changes after careful consideration. Trial and error will eventually show the way to a good plan although you should be open to intuition also.
However, I should point out that, it is very likely your goal will materialize in a most unexpected way. The fact that you have set a plan for its accomplishment tends to set things in motion and like a chain reaction (or the butterfly effect) subtle changes made by you may cause dramatic changes elsewhere and your goal may come before your plan is completed.

Step 5. Visualization
Visualization is the art of creating mental movies of your completed goal. This has many beneficial effects upon your consciousness. Without going into the deeper esoteric benefits of using this art let me just say that you are truly designing your life when you use it. It has one other major benefit - it strengthens your desire and persistence because you momentarily experience the thrill of having achieved your goal!
Just form a mental picture of having achieved your goal. See what you will see. Feel how wonderful it will be. See how it effects everyone around you. Hear people congratulate you. When this state is experienced nothing will stop you in your quest for your objective and thus your belief-power will also be reinforced.

Step 6. The Subconscious Mind
It is within the subconscious part of your mind that you hold all th positive and negative beliefs about yourself - your self-image. These beliefs are reflected back to you in the form of attitudes. Therefore it is from the subconscious mind that the thought of failure or success comes.

Attitudes are just mental programs and so is your self-image. They can easily be changed (yes I said 'easily'). Any attitude or belief can be changed by using the formula outlined in this article - by combining affirmations with visualization. Henry Ford used it, as did Ralph Waldo Emerson and even Arnold Swatzeneger. It is reported in some circles that a similar technique was employed by Bill Gates to build his global empire. Andrew Carnegie used it exactly as described to attain and give away multi-millions even though he was an unschooled manual worker when he started it. Carnegie's legacy can still be seen today when you freely borrow a book from any Carnegie library of which there are thousands.
If you use these six steps there is nothing you cannot achieve. Luckily we have the advantage of living in the Twentieth Century with all its new technology and innovations such as hypnosis and subliminal programming. Use these steps in conjunction with your favourite personal development system and you are assured success. personal-development.info

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