“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”

By Nina Steele 

I love this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, because it summarises the experience of the majority of people today. So much of the problems in our world could easily be avoided, if people lived authentic lives, instead of constantly trying to keep up with everyone else. Greed, envy, jealousy are some of those self-created problems that are causing havoc with people’s lives. And naturally, the whole world suffers as a result.

We are constantly bombarded with ideas about what is ‘in’ and what isn’t. We are supposed to follow the latest trends and fads. And the sad truth is, there are lots of people out there who take those advice at face value.

Funny how everyone say they want peace of mind and happiness, yet the actions of the majority don’t back this up. Most people expect peace and happiness to come about without too much effort on their part.

I remember an old friend of mine, who didn’t get on well with her sister. Every time she visited her, which was at least once a week, she came out feeling miserable. Yet she kept the facade going. When I asked her why she kept seeing her so regularly, if it made her so unhappy, her answer was that doing otherwise would create trouble in the family. She chose to sacrifice her own happiness in order to please her family.

Another friend and her husband knew deep down that they didn’t want children, yet just so they could fit in with everyone around them, they had them anyway. Unfortunately for them, parenthood has proved very difficult, and now they wish they had listened to their guts and remained childless. They now find themselves in a situation where they cannot be too open about their feelings, for fear of being labelled bad parents.

Yes there is certainly a lot of pressure to conform, but this alone is no excuse for people to live lives that aren’t authentic. Unless you live in a war zone or other such places where people are not free, your destiny is in your hands.

It is easy to blame society for all our problems, when we are part of that society ourselves. Society is you and I, and as such, we have the power to shape it in the way that we see fit.

Courage is the key ingredient to live an authentic life. If people around you aren’t happy with your choices, then that is their problem to deal with, not yours. So long as you care more about what people think instead of listening to yourself, you will never have peace of mind, let alone be happy.

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