Own yourself

Don’t let the world control you. Own your life to give spark to your daring dreams

How do you own yourself in a world that wants to own you? We live in a world where consumer culture, advertising, social media wants us to be people they can manipulate – they tell us how we should feel, what we must wear, what we ought to eat, how we can find a partner, even, dictate how we can be attractive… Can we free ourselves from this control? Kelly Brogan’s book Own Your Self talks about getting our self-sovereignty back by peeling off the layers of false self we have become so attached to, especially, over the past decade. In doing so, we have hampered our own potential, growth and kept our true self from shining.

That’s a scary thought. According to Psychology Today, owning yourself is one of the most important stages of personal development and self-actualisation. We are all born with a different constellation of traits, temperaments, inclinations, family backgrounds, and environmental circumstances. To not nurture our full potential and fit everyone in cardboard boxes that fit the ‘accepted’ societal profile is the biggest disservice we can do to ourselves.

You get back your personal power by letting yourself be yourself and having clear boundaries. “For instance, wear today what you really want to wear, and not what you think others will like; say ‘no’ to something you don’t want to do and don’t explain yourself. When we finally realise that the world doesn’t fall apart when we do our own thing, no matter how odd, we start feeling better,” adds Burza.

Psychologist Dr Saloni Singh believes the first step towards owning ourselves is to recognise that the world is focused on just looking good, not feeling good from within. She says, “That’s why everyone looks good on social media, even if they are sinking in the dark abyss of anxiety from within.”

To own yourself, tell yourself every day that it’s okay not to be part of the herd mentality. It’s okay to focus on your own mental and emotional health. In short, instead of all the moaning and whining while keeping a happy face for the world, we need to train our minds to understand that our lives, our health and happiness is our responsibility. Author Manjiri Prabhu says a great way to own ourselves is to silence the voice of critique in our minds. “I have learnt to accept myself as I am because I know that no matter what my faults are, I am unique, and the only one of my kind in this world. Self-confidence, I feel, is the key ingredient. You can be a sheep amongst wolves and still hold your own if you are confident of what you are capable of and know who you really are.”

Author Sudha Menon says we need to question our conditioning every day, and re-evaluate what is expected of us. “I had lived life pussyfooting around what I wanted to do because I worried about what society would say about my life choices. When I look back, it was such a waste of my energy and mind space. Perhaps, the most empowering thing that has happened to me is that I have learnt to say ‘no’ to the things that don’t give me either joy or money to pay my bills.”

Are you ready to own yourself?


  • Be original
  • Understand what motivates you
  • Rise up to new challenges
  • Concentrate on your strengths
  • Don’t compare
  • Speak up when you need to
  • Find new ways of doing things
  • Live with integrity
  • Accept your self-sovereignty

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