It's hard to stay true to yourself in a world where people are always "Shoulding" you.
People love you + mean well (most of the time) and there is no shortage of advice in our circles that's for certain. But here is the thing: Your Creator has created you unequal. The only thing equal about you, is that you are Equally Unique. The very things you are passionate about + day dream about were seeds planted in you long ago; before you were even born. Those seeds are not random; those seeds are directly linked to your very purpose on this Earth. They are WHY you are here. They are the fuel to WHAT you are to be.
Going against the grain of our intuition starts at a young age: Your parents influence your direction in life; may it be to follow family tradition, have a better life than they did, whatever the reason, while they mean well they teach you to put your intuition + dreams on the back burner. In many cases, they encourage you to bury them completely.
Then we go to school + all we want to do is feel accepted for who we are. But what happens instead? We find a collective that we feel we can belong to and kids tend to mimic one another. It’s not just kids though is it? It is human nature to want to fit in. But fitting in isn’t necessarily something that benefits us because when we fit in, we blend in. The true need people are trying to fulfill is the quenching of the need to belong. Community. To be a part of something greater than just who we are. This is the need of Love + Connection.
But what if we were taught at a young age that in order to receive love we must not fit in; we must actively flourish in our individuality and uniqueness? That it doesn’t matter if we look or act differently. That there is nothing wrong with us if we think or feel differently than everyone else. What would we teach our children then? That it is more than okay to be unique, we would teach them that it is that very uniqueness that will lead us to true love + belonging. We would find that in this process, the very things we feel that separate us from others actually connect us. Those feelings we have that we think no one else feels are the very commonality in human connection.
Instead, we tend to bury those feelings of uniqueness and it becomes difficult to share what we independently think--- especially when people are so quick to publicly criticize others for thinking differently than they do. Society groups itself into categories and then we all blend into these generalized ideas. But what is so wrong about thinking independently? Your ego will tell you that you do think independently but your ego is a liar. For most, the courage to stand alone is absent, and the need to please others is more important than the need to be authentic.
I have found that it is very common for people to wind up in the wrong story because of inauthenticity. Inauthenticity does not always occur intentionally, and it certainly doesn’t occur over night. There are several turns along our journeys that lead us down the wrong road. Fear of not being loved + not being enough or alone rallies us along into categories like herded cattle + before we know it, we have created an entire life in the direction of this herd. We wind up in the wrong relationship; the wrong lifestyle; the wrong career, all because we put that seed inside of us on the back burner and never fed it. We left it in the dark without nurturing it.
I believe our societal labels are misdirecting. Misdirection turns the head of attention the wrong way + the attention is not brought to the source of the problems. Society has mislabeled the “Mid-Life Crisis”. They say the “Mid-Life Crisis” hits about the age of 43, and studies show that it ranges from 33-53. Forbes identifies a key characteristic of the mid-life crisis is the feeling of apathy. When you are apathetic, you have no interest in your surroundings, you feel indifferent and disconnected from everything and everyone in your life.
Traditional behaviors we associate with hitting the mid-life crisis is men going out and buying extravagant sports cars, people having extramarital affairs, people liquidating assets and moving across the globe. Self-medication to numb the feeling of indifference is common as well. All of these behaviors are a desperate action to fill a void. Erratic behaviors tend to come with immense costs and can be very hurtful + destructive to those around us in addition to ourselves.
The label of mid-life crisis is so misdirecting though. We chalk it up to, “yeah, he’s just going through his mid-life crisis” and we don’t focus on the root cause. I think that it starts with putting those seeds on the back burner and never nurturing them. We build our lives around the pretense that what we are creating will be fulfilling, but in reality, when we are inauthentic, we cannot be truly fulfilled.
We travel down a road that we ourselves paved. We can only travel down that road for so long before it becomes painful to continue traveling. And then we hit a brick wall. And if we do not recognize where this feeling of indifference and emptiness is stemming from, we cannot address it and correct it. So, we try to fill this emptiness with whatever we think will satisfy us. Only through living an authentic life can you fill that void. Only by living your purpose does that emptiness disappear; that is where you connect. With yourself. With others. With your Creator.
Think about that thing you were so passionate about and naturally drawn to as a child. Most likely, it was something your parents and teachers told you that you would never be able to make a living at so you should come up with a Plan B. In coming up with this Plan B, people become distracted with goals that were not their own.
What are the things that make you happy?
What are you passionate about?
How can those things connect you to others? Is there a way to create community around it? For example, maybe you are passionate about working with wood; carpentry. There are communities built around anything you could imagine. Can it help others? Maybe you cannot see how this could be an impactful purpose and you only see it as a hobby or maybe making a little supplemental income on the side. Understand, those are lies we tell ourselves.
Earlier I stated that those seeds were planted in you intentionally and long before your birth. When we neglect those seeds, they do not grow. Maybe you have lost sight of what those passions are. Maybe it is time to reconnect with those seeds + develop those gifts. Know this: There is always a way to make an impact + help others. Always. Your gifts are designed to help others. And through the action of helping others, you will help yourself. You will fill up. You will expand. You will overflow.
Maybe you don’t run out and quit your job today. Maybe using your gift to meet your financial needs is not the path for you. But your gift must be shared. Period. May it be incorporating your gift with the work you already do, or may it be shifting your source of income to providing your gift to the world; taking daily actions to sharing that gift is your responsibility to your authenticity + your responsibility to helping others. Regardless of what your unique path is, it is essential to your fulfillment, true connection, + your impact on this World.
What seed are you going to nurture today?