Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?Charles Bukowski
I’m a firm believer that the words “should” and “supposed to” have no place in our vocabulary when thinking about our own lives. When we’re concerned about what the world expects from us instead of what we want for ourselves, we allow our own wants, needs and dreams to be neglected. We follow someone else’s course instead of our own and then we wake up one day baffled as to why we’re so unhappy.
What we want and need for our lives is ever changing, not something permanent and set in stone. It’s important to do regular check-ins with ourselves, to recalibrate and assess whether the direction we’re heading is the right one. Are we making choices based on our own desires or are we following the course prescribed for us by others? And if we find that we’ve gotten off our own track and onto someone else’s, today is the day to jump back onto our own!
I have made so many decisions in my life based on my desire to do the “right thing” according to the world. Many of those decisions put me in some pretty awful places that were a struggle to get out of. Depending on who you surround yourself with, the influences around you can drown you in expectations that all too often look nothing like what you want for your own life. If you’re not strong enough to stand firm in your own ideas, you’ll find yourself going through the motions that they’ve set out for you and stifling who you really are. You’ll become increasingly frustrated and unfulfilled and confused, and because you’re doing everything “right”, you’ll assume that you’re the problem. You’ll figure that everyone else has it together and is happy and because you’re not, something is wrong with you.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Your wants, needs, ideas, and desires are not weird or childish or silly or stupid. I believe that the masses blindly following the course laid out for them without ever looking up or questioning are the weird ones. No beauty or art or innovation is born from banal monotony. Nobody ever declared from their death bed that they’re so glad they gave up on their dreams and settled for mediocrity instead.
Your dreams look different from mine and sometimes it’s hard to tell if someone is blazing their own path or not. One person’s dreams fulfilled can look like another’s misery. It’s not for us to judge and as long as you are truly following the desire of your heart, I’m behind you in whatever you choose for your life! Whether your ultimate goal is to be a stay at home mother and raise your children, to conquer the corporate world, to travel around and experience all that you can, or to live a simple and quiet life, make sure you’re doing what YOU want to do and not what someone else thinks you should. And don’t be afraid to change directions when what you want and need changes, because it will change throughout your life.
Following your passion isn’t always the easiest path. It’s usually much easier to sell out and take the well-worn path instead, the one with the steady paycheck and phony approval of others. The struggle that comes with blazing your own path can be daunting but the satisfaction and joy in doing what you love is more far rewarding than a few extra dollars or nodding heads. Just remember that everyone doling out advice and telling you what you “should” do are simply regurgitating what was poured over them and consider the source – are they someone truly happy and whose life you’re excited about or are they going through the motions just like they’re telling you to do? Too often the people who judge the most harshly are those that gave up on their own dreams and seek to destroy yours as well to make them feel better. Don’t you let them!
Your life is yours alone and it doesn’t have to look like anything other than what you want. Do some soul searching and decide what YOU WANT. Then take a deep breath, stand up straight and take the first step in the right direction for yourself. When the comments and advice come (and they will), smile and keep on moving forward. Stop every once in a while and reassess, make sure you’re still following your happiness and if you need to adjust your path, do it. Seek guidance from those you respect. If you find you’ve made a wrong turn, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just get yourself back on the right road and keep on going. You’re not here long so make the most of every moment you have and whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s what YOU want, not what someone else tells you is right. Trust yourself, you know yourself best. Love yourself, too because you’re a wonderful person who is ready to do amazing things. So stop listening to the world and start listening to your heart.
Copyright 2019, all rights reserved. All images taken by me unless otherwise stated.