6 Powerful Quotes That Helped Me Become More Secure in My Identity

There’s a reason I call books my superpower: they help me identify myself in a way no TED talk ever could.

6 Powerful Quotes That Helped Me Become More Secure in My Identity
Anangsha Alammyan Instagram

There’s a reason I call books my superpower: they help me love myself in a way no other experience ever could

“Reading isn’t that impressive. After all, bookish knowledge is all you have. It isn’t applicable in the real world.”

That’s what my friend Ashish told me when I mentioned reading was my hobby. At first, he seemed impressed that I’d read 800+ books in my life. But later on, he said that bookish knowledge was of no value. It would only make me a dreamer — impractical at best and delusional at worst.

This didn’t ring true, especially because much of what I’ve achieved to date is because of the books I’ve read. As an avid reader, I believe that books have helped shape my personality, character, and mindset in a way no TED talk or other experience ever could.

Reading has helped me through some of the darkest phases in my life. But if there’s one thing I’m the most grateful for, it’s this: books have helped me uncover the layers to my identity and made me more self-reliant.

In this article, I’ve listed 6 of the most profound quotes I recently read that have made me more secure in my identity. I’ve also added ways in which you can implement them practically and what needs to be done to make sure the effects they leave on you are tangible and permanent.

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

1. “It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”

— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

This quote taught me the importance of positive self-talk. How often do you find yourself blaming your parents, partner, colleagues, or the universe for your misfortune? Have you ever considered you could be at fault too?

As I mentioned in a previous article, shifting the blame on others often implies that you’re a victim. Accepting responsibility and making sure the mistakes never repeat makes you a hero.

That’s the power of positive self-talk. When you acknowledge failure, take steps to right the wrong, and not let one misfortune define you, you can be the hero of your own story.

Accept responsibility, take action, and be the hero of your story.

How you can apply this:

  • Be mindful of the story you’re telling yourself. Can you make it more compassionate and uplifting?
  • When you encounter a roadblock, look within yourself, and assess the situation. Is there a mistake you’d been committing all along? What are the steps you can take to make sure this never happens again?
  • Never tell yourself that you’re a failure or that you’re good for nothing. Believe in yourself as you’d believe in your best friend. Only self-love can help you through all the challenges life throws at you.

2. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning

There’s no such thing as “too much pain.” History has proved to us time and again that no matter how hard we fall, we as humans are capable of pulling ourselves up and changing our narrative.

The same is true for adversity. When you hit a roadblock, and the rest of your life depends on the need to get past it, you can go to any lengths to make sure that happens. This can mean changing some childhood beliefs you had clung on tightly to. But if rewiring your brain helps you get past adversity, then that’s what you should try.

How you can apply this:

  • If the door you’re banging on is closed forever, look for another one. Maybe there won’t be a door nearby, but surely, there’s a window you’d been overlooking?
  • If you fail at a goal you’d worked hard for years, look deep within and try to understand why you’d craved so much to achieve that. Is it because this lies close to what your heart desires, or is it because of societal pressure?
  • When a problem seems unsolvable, try changing the way you’re approaching the problem.

3. “Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Each time you leave a feeling, an emotion, a state of mind, a place, a job, or a relationship behind, a part of you dies. You have to pick yourself back up after that major change and rebuild your life.

Each goodbye is like a funeral: each new beginning, a rebirth.

That’s the meaning behind this quote — your biological birth isn’t the only event deciding your future. The chance to start something new belongs only to you. If you exercise that right well enough, you can build a life for yourself from scratch.

How you can apply this:

  • Don’t limit yourself to the caste, society, limiting beliefs, or aspirations for the future you were born into. Sure, your family had its history, but you can rise above that. It’s all in your mindset.
  • The circumstances of your biological birth granted your entry into this world. But how you live depends on you. The life you carve out for yourself depends on you. Use that knowledge well.

4. “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

So often, we wear our vulnerabilities like scars. We let them show on our faces and be used by others to constantly keep pulling us down.

“Not fair enough”, “not tall enough”, “not smart enough” — we let others repeat these to us so many times that we start considering them as the flaws in our character, the insurmountable wall we can never climb.

This quote taught me to treat my vulnerabilities like my strengths.

Yes, I’m not fair enough, but so what? My self-worth doesn’t lie in the color of my skin.

Yes, I’m not tall enough, but how does it hurt me? My height has never come in the way of living a fulfilling life. Why should I let other people convince me otherwise?

Yes, I’m not smart enough. But I’m kind, considerate, compassionate, and I’m a damn good writer. If that’s not enough to live a fulfilling life, I don’t know what is.

How you can apply this:

  • As my friend Dipanshu Rawal often says, “For how long will you keep treating your characteristics as your issues?” There’s a sweet balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement. This can be your wake up call to finally start practicing self-acceptance.
  • Make peace with your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Define your identity around them, not in spite of them. If you’re rock solid in your conviction. No hurtful words from anyone else can ever make you feel bad about them.

5. “Why do I need to be defined as anything? Why can’t I just be who I am without some asshole trying to make me into something I’m not?”

— TJ Klune, How to Be a Normal Person

Often, the world will try to punish you for not fitting into their definition of “normal It will try to push you into a pre-designed box, hammering your edges, filing out the parts that don’t fit until what’s left is a mere shadow of who you used to be.

Don’t let that happen to you.

It’s perfectly okay to be strange and abnormal and weird, as long as that makes you happy. There’s beauty in non-conformity, and the sooner you accept it, the better off you’ll be.

How you can apply this:

  • Understand that no one gets to define what’s “normal” for you except yourself.
  • In matters of the heart, there’s no right or wrong. The only correct choice is the one that makes you happy without hurting other people. If people decide to call it “abnormal”, then let them. This judgment reflects on their choice of words, not yours.
  • Never change yourself to fit into the preconceived notions of what works, You are you, and that’s enough.

6. “The only true form of freedom, the only ethical form of freedom, is through self-limitation. It is not the privilege of choosing everything you want in your life, but rather, choosing what you will give up in your life.”

― Mark Manson, Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope

The consumerist world of today might have convinced you that there’s happiness is having more. More clothes, more furniture, more books, more experiences — more, more, more.

But this quote made me realize that true freedom lies in getting to have whatever you want but choosing to give it up because you want a mindful, peaceful existence. You don’t have to be the slave of momentary pleasures to experience happiness. The sense of peace you so crave can come from detachment too.

How you can apply this:

  • Don’t let material possessions fool you into thinking true happiness comes from having more of everything.
  • Practice mindfulness and be grateful for all that you need. For the rest, choose to let go and give up. This can apply to things, people, and experiences.
  • When you choose what you’ll give up, you are actively defining your identity stronger than anyone else can do it for you.

Final Words

These 6 quotes from some amazing books I recently read helped define my identity. I hope the analysis and the ways to implement them helped you in some form too.

At the end of the day, remember that you’re the architect of your life. No one else can carve out happiness for you. If none of these quotes resonated with you, that’s fine too. After all, individuality manifests in many ways. You don’t need to follow other wise men's words to etch out the best life for yourself. As one of my favorite authors famously quoted,

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
― Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

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