It’s funny how quick we are to share our opinions even when they’re slightly (or highly) unjustified for another person’s situation. Sure maybe something’s turned out a certain way or created a particular perspective for us, personally, but one thing I’ve learned for sure over the last few years (and especially the last couple years of traveling) is everyone’s got a version of something they’ve experienced…but it’s only from one angle.
If I took everything that people told me to do, not do, be, see, avoid, etc…my life would be…well much like it was a year and a half ago…TERRIBLE. Don’t get me wrong, again I’ll admit there were aspects and moments that I appreciated and maybe even enjoyed from time to time, but for the most part I walked around living the life everyone else told me I should or shouldn’t live. Do I have anyone to blame besides myself? Absolutely not! I have always had agency and wisdom to make my own choices but for some reason I valued what others shared with me more than how I personally felt about things. Had I listened to my highly intuitive inner self, I wouldn’t have spent years trying to make someone else’s life into my own. It’s like trying to get a puzzle piece to fit within a lego house. It DOESN’T WORK.
For example, something stupid I accepted was when a friend (and someone who I still value) told me not to move to LA a few years back. Granted, she meant well, but her reason for me not to move there had NOTHING to do with my reason for wanting to go. I wanted to live close to the beach because of what it does for me (gives me strength, power, clarity, insight, and pure joy). She, on the other hand, didn’t think I’d like the culture in LA (again, silly since I’d been visiting there since my early childhood and knew it would be fine)…and even if I didn’t, or it didn’t match me exactly…the point in me wanting to move there was purely for close and consistent access to the beach! I’ve since rediscovered that I’m absolutely right about my personal assertions regarding oceans and how I respond when living near them. I, again, had a friend in Hanoi also tell me I’d hate living in Da Nang, Vietnam (even though she’d never been there) because of the culture. However, having gone anyway and living there for 2 months (spending every single day on the beach – even during category 2 hurricanes/typhoons) I can say with complete certainty that her recommendation to me, however well meant…was wrong for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Da Nang!
Sadly, I always had this inner voice telling me to go forward with who I really Am and what I wanted to do, but I didn’t start to value my own perspective over others until much more recently. I quieted my inner voice in order to live up to the expectations of others. After all, that’s what we’re taught from childhood aren’t we? I don’t say this to attack or blame anyone. My parents and family always taught me to think for myself…but at the same time they were under similar influence to only act bravely to the point which wouldn’t stand out too far from the crowd or ruffle too many feathers. Think independently as long as it doesn’t hurt or challenge those who you love…or the strangers around you? Wait. What?
Most of the time I haven’t done anything that would affect anyone outside of my own life…but somehow when I started acting “outside the lines” (those guidelines which are acceptable to others) I suddenly began offending and challenging people unknowingly. How? By causing them to reflect internally on their Core beliefs and how they see life.
Have you ever noticed that when you do something which contradicts someone else’s belief it sends them into a state of anger? Why anger, do you think? Anger is simply
accentuated pain. So why pain then? Well when you say something that goes against a Core belief you create a sense of panic and internal struggle within them. You’ve suddenly made them start to question themselves and the rules they’ve followed all their lives…which leads to a really deep search of who they are and why they’ve chosen to accept this version of themselves instead of another…possibly a more individualistic, courageous version…which PART of them may have always WANTED to live. That’s not saying that everyone wants their lives to change drastically or be anything like I’ve now created mine to be…but there is SOME version of them who they’ve always wanted to be or something they’ve wanted to do which they’ve ignored or silenced in order to keep the peace or keep from stirring things up.
Every decision we make, even when it’s a very personal choice, somehow affects the people we come in contact with and especially those who we’ve known and been closest to. There have always been aspects of the REAL ME that I knew I was living beneath and choosing to hide…and sometimes it was because of the fact that it would be extremely
difficult to accomplish. Most of the time, however, it was a level of fear in becoming who I WANTED to become because of how it would affect the people in my life and especially those whom I loved. Again, this process has absolutely turned my life upside down, so knowing what it can ignite within others has actually acted as a reason to refrain from making drastic changes for myself in order to help them avoid unnecessary pain.
So who am I then? This me whom I’ve been hiding and avoiding for so long? Should be such an easy answer shouldn’t it? Nope. I’m still trying to figure it out one step at a time and learning bits and pieces as I go…just like we all do when we start searching out that Core Question: Who Am I?