During our childhood we are mostly dependent on elders to take care of us and instruct us on “how to be”, be it our parents, teachers, relatives or some external authority. The schooling system being focused on “group education” cannot really cater to individualistic needs, it’s not customized for the needs of every child, rather it has a generic mode of operation and the best you can expect from such a system is some form of forced discipline towards learning the generic subjects. There is, of course, a time and place for this type of life (of dependency on elders and external discipline) and this type of education, after all it’s very important to have an overall “generic” knowledge and outlook, so that later you can pick and choose what suits you best. The problem arises when we fail to grow out of this “childhood mindset”, and stay following this pattern of working through external discipline/influence without exploring our individual expression.
The question you need to ask yourself is “how original is my life”, by original I mean how much of it is really you and how much of it is just an “outside influence”. You are not born to mindlessly live an outside conditioning – you are born to express your originality, and when you live your natural expression this originality shines through. In that sense, it’s almost a responsibility that you owe towards your own life. It’s not that life is judging you for whether you live your expression or not, however, your life-stream will always pull you towards your natural expression. As long as you resist this pull, you live in struggle, because you are basically resisting yourself. When you go with this pull, your life is aligned with effortless, joy-based, passionate, adventurous and “original” expression. “Adventurous” does not just mean that you be swinging from a bungee and climbing a mountain wall; Adventure is a feeling, it’s a natural feeling that you have when you are living an aligned life – there is always a sense of anticipation for what is to come, for the growth, for the new realities that will be part of your expression/creation.
Living your originality by staying true to yourself
One of toughest challenges for a human being is to stay true to oneself. The reason it’s tough is because since childhood we are “instructed” to do the biding of the outside, to fit in, to be a conformist, to be a model student or a “good” boy/girl, to regurgitate teachings, to not think for yourself but just follow an external “discipline”, to take on beliefs of the culture/society, to be submissive, to compete with others, to vie for society recognized status etc You will be amazed at how thoroughly your mind has been programmed to be a slave to the “conventional society”, or the conventional mindset – so much so that any form of deviant thinking (thinking outside common belief systems) on your part creates intense guilt, or fear, within you. You start judging yourself by external standards, and you start feeling guilty for not meeting the outside expectations of you – and easiest way for the outside to make you feel guilty is by calling you “selfish”, but it’s not the outside that’s to blame, the fact is that they are only reflecting your own inner sense of guilt – the outside is only a mirror reflecting your inside.
Consider the institution of marriage. Like anything in life, marriage is a “choice” that’s available to you, and you need to make this choice based on your understanding of yourself, not out of pressure from peers, family, relatives, and personal fear of being unconventional. Personally, at present, I like the concept of marriage and being monogamous would be my preference, and that’s a preference I’ve come to after contemplation of the various choices of lifestyle, however this preference can change at some point in my life. Preferences “can” change as you age, as your circumstances change, as you gain more knowledge, as you see more of the world, and that’s part of the dynamism of life – but at any point you need to come to your preferences through having an understanding of yourself, being free of any limiting/incongruent thinking created by external influence/conditioning. Don’t base your choices on the below factors
– To look cool to the outside
– To stand true to some rigid “principle” that you adopted due to your external conditioning
– To conform with your friends, family or other external influences
– To “seem” rebellious
– To fit in with the pop culture
– To follow a lack-based mindset
You need to develop an understanding of your mind/brain and heart, and for that you need to develop an “inner connection” rather than being so “externally focused”. You need to understand your brain beyond the cloud of external conditioning, and you need to have a sense of your heart beyond the mind’s logic alone – the heart is the center of instinct and intuition, it’s the wisdom-center, and a lot of times wisdom defies mental logic. For example, your mental logic might dictate that it’s foolish to stay committed to one person when you have the opportunity to have sex with multiple partners, but your heart might want you to stay true to that one person. Don’t try to use your “logic” to convince your heart, that’s what a lot of people try to do, it never works out, and you just end up being in-congruent with yourself. Experience will show you that following your heart always ensures a peaceful/conflict-free life. In order to understand your mind’s movement and your heart’s voice, you need to bring a lot of awareness to your inner space, that’s why self-awareness is also called self-realization.
Don’t compromising on your natural preference
Let go of the mindset of copying others. It’s one thing to be inspired by some outside influence but it’s a totally different thing to become a “follower”, of trying to copy/duplicate their expression. It’s not about following what is “cool” from the outside perspective, it’s about staying true to what feels aligned with you. To be true to yourself you have to accept yourself as you are with the understanding that if you align with yourself your life-force will attract/manifest a reality that’s congruent with you, without requiring any struggle on your part. You don’t have to compromise on what your natural preference is, whatever it is be assured that there is a way to manifest it, scientifically a reality that produced a preference in you has the resources to fulfill it – what’s needed is that you stay true to your preference (of course, the first step is to have a clarity on your preferences, which comes from self-awareness).
It’s so easy to create “idols” in our mind, to become a follower, to try to meet expectations, to seek approval, to fit in with the popular mindset, to create an image of how you “should” be to conform with the image of what’s “cool”, but all of this is just unconscious living, through an externally conditioned mindset. When you have a strong self-awareness and thus have clarity about yourself, you always live your truth, you never compromise on yourself – not for money, not for approval, not for acceptance. And the thing is, when you stay true to yourself, you always attract a reality around you that accepts you as you are and you attract your type of lifestyle – that’s what it feels like to experience true love and abundance.