Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Live Up

Hoi An, Vietnam
For more years than I care to admit, I handed the responsibility of my emotional health to others. I desperately wanted to believe that those who told me they loved me were looking out for my best interests. Sadly, my best interests clashed with what they wanted so the direction they were leading me contradicted where I needed to go. It wasn't until I grew strong enough and developed the confidence to trust my judgment that I took responsibility for my emotional health and began to live honestly.

I was one of those kids who hated to be yelled at and punishment was not my friend. I wanted to make the adults in my life happy and people-pleased to a fault. As I grew older, I was no longer at risk of getting into trouble, yet the self-sacrificing behavior continued. I realized it wasn't trouble that I had been avoiding all of those years, but disappointing others. In trying to live according to their expectations, I was holding myself back and failing to live up to the expectations I had for myself.

People tell me to settle down, have children, lower my guard, and relax my boundaries. They rationalize these directives using fear and guilt, but what they are really saying is, "Do what I did," or "Stop living your life in a way that I lacked the confidence to even consider." Instead of internalizing their fears and regrets, I've accepted that my life is not conventional because my heart's desires are not conventional. Instead of trying to fit into the notion of what others believe or want, I've learned to trust my instincts, live fully, and not apologize for it. Working through my fear of disappointing others and ultimately, losing their support has taught me two life-altering, freeing lessons:
  • it is much more detrimental to live a life that I find disappointing and
  • I will always have the support I need because those who honestly love me will always remain.
Not everyone will comprehend the course of your life. That does not necessarily mean that they wish to see you fail. Some are simply not capable of comprehending your future because it exists in a space that they cannot fathom. Your life choices are yours and you have to live with the consequences in a way that no one else will. Develop the strength and confidence to trust your judgment. When you live honestly, you usher in people who will support and love you honestly, and there is nothing fearful, nor disappointing in that.

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