Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Be True To Yourself

I have spent most of my life walking along a knife edge, not quite happy, but not quite unhappy. Like most everyone else, I have had my happy times and I have had my sad times. The rest of the time, I was in a stage of discontent, not ever sure of what I was doing or why I was doing it. This discontent stemmed from living my life in ways I thought would please other people instead of living the life I know I should.

As far back as I can remember, I would make decisions I thought other people would want me to make instead of really thinking about what I wanted. I was trying to be a peacekeeper, but often, what I thought other people wanted wasn't actually what they wanted. By trying to please other people, not only was I not pleasing myself, but I wasn't actually pleasing other people, either. I was leading a life of discontent because I forgot (or hadn't learned) the importance of being true to myself and leading the life I needed to live.

You will always have people around you, some trusted and some not, who think they know how you should lead your life. They will tell you the things you need to do to be happy. They will tell you how to be a better spouse or friend or employee or manager or leader or writer or artist or entrepreneur or any other type of person you want to be. They have their opinions and they will be forthcoming with them. Even if they are someone you value or someone who seems to have it all together, you don't always have to take their advice.

This doesn't mean you should ignore everyone. This is your life, so you need to live it in a way that makes you happy. We are all very different people with very different motivations and goals and dreams and beliefs and thoughts. One person's road to happiness will be a road to despair for someone else. Some people can give up family time in a quest for their career goals, but others will be better off giving up the career for the family. Some people will do what they love on the side and others will quit everything in a quest to match their love with money. Some people will plant roots and stay in one place, others will become nomads and move from place to place searching for something, even if they aren't sure what that something is. Some people will have careers and others will have a series of jobs and others will do their own thing.

The people around you aren't vindictive or trying to force you off path (in most cases); they have honest intentions and think what works for them will work for you. They don't understand why you don't want to do the things they want to do, but that's okay. Many of these people believe they have your best interests at heart, but they just don't understand how different the two of you are. They are living the life they want (or the life they believe they want) and think you should be living the same type of life.  

You have to be true to the voice inside you, not the one that tries to keep you from doing things that scare you, but the much quieter one who whispers encouragement and keeps pushing you forward. Deep down, we all know what we want to do, most of us just let the voice of fear silence it. The first step towards truly living is to live your life, not the life other people want to live. Listen to the really quiet voice and figure out what is going to make you feel alive. Then go do it. Keep listening to this voice and be true to yourself. For the people who matter in your life, this is what will really make them happy.

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