Too often we give into the influence of others, forgoing our own happiness. Most of the time we do so because we want to avoid confrontation or to be socially accepted. We tell children not to give in to peer pressure and yet that is exactly what we do as adults. The difference is that we see peer pressure in adolescence as bad while in adulthood these social pressures are seen as the only way to act in order to be seen as successful, beautiful or well, normal.
I will confess that I have always been a rebel. Never believing that in order to be happy I have to follow the social protocols set out by society on how I should live my life. Growing up in a conservative society it was a given that once a girl leaves school she will work for a while, get married, have kids, then become a grandmother and grow old gracefully (and contently). For me that was a big “hell, no!” – I wanted to travel and have adventures, not be stuck at home with kids and a long forgotten dream.
At a very young age I decide that my happiness wasn’t going to depend on other people’s opinions on how my life should be lived. After all you only get one shot at life. Why live it according to someone else’s rules and sacrifice your dreams? I’m not saying the path less travelled is easy, I’ve had highs and lows just like everyone else but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything.
If you look back on your life, and the choices you have made, can you say the same? Can you honestly say that you have lived your life authentically? That you have followed your own true path of happiness?
If not then it is time to stand up for yourself and be who you are meant to be.
To thy own self be true
If you want to live a happy life then you need to be happy with who you are. This means staying true to your beliefs and values. It means not letting others influence your decisions, or placing too much value in their opinions. That’s not to say be rude or completely dismissive, rather listen politely and then trust your intuition. Even if you aren’t the most confident person, your gut will always steer you in the right direction. You will instinctively know if something is right for you or not.
Don’t let so-called social rules dictate who you should be. Most of those rules are antiquated and plain silly. Society like conformity, it likes to play by the rules and doesn’t understand those that don’t. In fact the rebels make Society nervous.
Think about it, why do you really need to own your own mortgage-free home to be able to tick that checkbox “success achieved”? I understand that for some this may be true but honestly if you prefer the life of a rambler, travelling the world and meeting interesting new people then do you really need to own your own home? Surely it would just tie you down.
Be brave, break the rules
I’m not calling for complete anarchy here, just challenge those rules placed on you by society and the people in your life that hold you back from living your life your way. When you find yourself in a situation that doesn’t sit right with you, find your inner strength, trust yourself and say “no, this is not right for me”.
The amazing thing about life is that when you have faith, and truly believe in yourself and your abilities, great things happen. It is like the universe is sitting there waiting and listening for you to ask. Blindly following the rules and not exploring your options means that you are not living your life to the fullest. You are a unique person with unique dreams and desires, be brave and break the social norm rules. Really learn to live and experience your life. After all when you are old and grey looking back on your life, what will give you the greatest satisfaction: To say that you took a chance, followed your heart and really experienced life, or that you abided by the rules of society and lived your life accordingly?