The Willingness to live our desires takes courage.
From early childhood we are exposed to other people’s ideas of who we ought to be and how. It is usually backed up by television programmes, school and friendships as early as playground playmates. As a child our identities are primarily shaped by parents who perceive us in certain ways and treat us accordingly. We may also be objects of their unmet or hidden ambitions. We are read books with certain heroes or heroines. The influencing, shaping and sculpting has begun. We are inculcated into family patterns where we are reminded through old photographs, stories of what those before us did or did not do. Psychologists tell us that by the time a child is 7 years old, their personality is formed. He/she is now just a littler version of who he/she is going to be. But is this mould really set like they say? Is that it?
Are we our family? Are we the result of relationships and friendships we have been exposed to and cultivated? Are we our university alumni? Who does the choosing? The YOU that you have chosen or the You that has been shaped and moulded? What if the life you have been influenced, shaped and moulded to follow is not the life you would have chosen for yourself? What do you do? What would happen if you leave the life you have built, the life you have unconsciously chosen and step forward to claim the life for which you have longed?
Often, we have inherited someone else’s view of who we are or should be. I have watched this play out time and again in a number of families or friends as they describe their families.
It takes real courage to stare into the deepest parts of yourself. Are you willing to see what is TRUE, REAL and ETERNAL about you? What do the deepest parts of yourself really long for? You see, the part of you that is shaped, moulded and sculpted is your personality. Your personality is not all of who you are. The part of you who questions your choices, who longs to live a life of your deepest desires, who observes you in unexpected moments, that is the eternal part of you. Some call it the Soul. Are you willing to risk knowing who you really are? Who you’ve always been? Could you live with the consequences of knowing? You see, all of our deepest desires are our Soul’s way of calling us back to simply being all of who we really are.
Each time I have allowed myself to “go there” I won’t lie and say it is easy. In fact “fear” visits. It feels quite palpable. She sits in the corner wringing her hands as if to say “let see what you got!” My mind registers multiple “what ifs”. I do not pretend to be unafraid. I know that when fear visits, the idea is to have me not choose, to keep me stymied, catatonic so I remain the same. But I would rather know myself and live with the consequences of these choices than to live a life making choices which have probably never been mine to make.
Sometimes I have made choices which have deviated from the status quo, from what others expected of me. Whilst those watching have smiled seemingly supportive, I have sensed a lack of support, even anger. I have, in the past, turned down work of a particular nature because it was inconsistent with who I thought I was and the overwhelming attitude from some have been “how dare you”. I have sensed and learned that making choices in alignment with who I think I am, can disrupt others’ perception of who they think they are. The negative energy emanating from those who disapprove for whatever reason makes me wonder whether I am holding up a mirror in which they can see themselves.
In any case isn’t that what we are for each other? Mirrors! Should we be clinging to our so called powerlessness or unwillingness to change like a comfort blanket? Is that supposed to let us off the hook of taking responsibility for our own lives? I suspect that those who choose to challenge inherited perceptions by opting for a different response to life, threaten the others carefully cultivated self-deception.