Day 199: Accept No Substitutes!

For all the noise in this world about who people should be, what they should be doing, what they shouldn’t be doing, and for all the different voices aiming to influence, cajole, manipulate, or persuade others to be and do what they think is right, there is one truth that transcends all of this: that each of us is unique, with our own unique characteristics and inner desires. Each of us has his or her own direction in life to take, and each of us has own inner “guidance” system, which only we feel and which lights up to tell us when we are on or off the mark.

For all the noise aiming to control humanity, the unavoidable truth ultimately is that we are each different, and that it is our ultimate destiny to shine in the truth of who we are. We each have a “True Self,” and that differs from person to person. Sure, the themes may generally be similar. I think most people desire to be happy, to make a difference to others, and to spend their time doing things that fulfill them. Yet even those things could have nearly infinite variation from person to person. Who am I to say what that should look like for an individual? As long as it doesn’t violate the rights of others, who am I to stop them?

I have come to a place of clarity in my own life where I am will no longer accept substitutes for my own inner guidance. I believe that, deep down, I know what is best for me. If I check in with myself, I can filter through the options that come my way, and learn to pick and choose which of it actually fits for me. No longer am I willing to trust someone else over my own inner guidance. In fact, I would rather risk finding out later that I was wrong, but acted on my own instinct in a way that was true for me, than ignore my own instincts. I have tried the latter too many times, and it never works.

In fact, worse than that, too many times I simply failed to recognize what I truly thought about something. Sometimes I made a big decision before understanding its lasting impact. I was too willing to be led because I didn’t realize that doubt smeared up my windshield with cloudy self-denial and judgment. I allowed other people’s clarity to substitute for my own.

There is nothing wrong with saying Yes to others, when what they suggest resonates with you. That’s not what I’m talking about. There are many great people out there, and worthwhile opportunities abound for us to participate with and collaborate with others in ways that are enjoyable, satisfying, and fulfilling. That is the ideal for everyone: that anytime someone says Yes to someone else, they do it because they are inwardly aligned with that choice.

If only it were that simple!

If you are like me, you have been guilty a time or two (or three or four) of saying Yes to others when you didn’t mean it. This amounts to wrong use of your own word: when we let ourselves make commitments that don’t align with who we really are. In my case, I usually suffered through the commitment anyway, but at the expense of my own happiness in the short-term, until I finally got away from the situation.

I advocate for people to find their own guidance and to accept no substitutes. If you wish to lead a happy, well-adjusted and fully satisfying life, I think it is imperative to have a strong, well-developed sense of what is right and wrong for you. After all, who else did you come here to Earth to live for? Your mother? Your friends? Your spouse? Your children? Your shrink, baseball coach, high school teacher, or priest?

Hopefully by now you recognize that there is a deeper part of you longs to be satisfied in this life, and that it is this part of you who requires your attention if you are to attain lasting peace and joy. The problem with listening too much to the noise out there in the world is that it can cause us to waste a lot of time on situations that don’t match who we really are, let alone fulfill a higher purpose.

I used the word “waste” there, yet I don’t really believe anything is truly a waste. For myself, I know that the experiences I went through, however off base I was in getting myself into them, were meant to help guide me to the clarity which I now possess. I am so appreciative that I went through those experiences, if for no other reason than that now I know what I know. This makes it worth it!

These experiences taught me to accept no substitutes for my own intuition. My own inner being knows best. I can check in with him any time of day, day or night. I don’t need a coach, a book, or a seminar to point me in that direction. I can do it on my own.

Again, I am not advocating for going it alone all the time. No one knows better than I the trials and tribulations of being the lone wolf. That can suck just as badly as the issues I’m discussing here. Yet, if you are like me, and had your own struggles navigating through this world without losing your own sense of self, it can pay to think these things through. The goal, I think, is to be fully engaged in the world, and to find worthwhile and satisfying collaborations with others who are aligned with us.

I believe that when you start with finding your own alignment first, you are more likely to be able to do that.

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