This word has a lot to do with the reason we struggle to be happy.
Instead of asking:
"Who am I?"
"Who do they want me to be?"
The worst addiction in the world is validation.
This obsession begins at a very young age. Being accepted and approved by others becomes more important to us than being fulfilled.
To be fulfilled, you have to listen to your own inner desires and live according to your truth; use your own talents and abilities. In essence, to be fulfilled means being unique, different, or dare I say..."crazy." Because despite what it looks like sometimes, we're not all the same.
"There is just one life for each of us: our own." Euripides
Human life feels empty when it is lived to please others. Usually, we can sense this feeling of emptiness in our lives. It's the feeling that "something" is missing. We have a tendency to identify that "something" as a better job, relationship, family, children, money, or things outside of ourselves.
It's important to realize that the "something" missing is usually us without the mask of others' expectations of us.
We can spend so much time trying to master others' perceptions of us that we rarely take the time to master ourselves.
"One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself." Leonardo da Vinci
There is no greater joy than getting in touch with your real, authentic voice and figuring out how to live a life dedicated to expressing it.
It is easy for the mask we wear for others to cloud our vision of who we really are. This lack of inner insight into ourselves causes us to internalize the feeling of insignificance instead of realizing that it is the idea or concept that we are adhering to that is flawed -- not us.
My heart goes out to the families who've lost their loved ones to depression and suicide, especially kids and teens. Reading the news stories over the last few weeks, it is apparent that our youth are learning from us that being different is just not worth it.
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." E.E. Cummings
Some would argue that we don't each have an individual self. But I promise that if you spend time with yourself, you'll hear a voice, feel an inclination, have a knowingness that your life does indeed have purpose.
Although a portion of identity comes from life experience, there is an even larger part that is beyond your past.
Even if you believe you're not born with a purpose, you create that purpose, it's still important to clear the static of validation.
"I celebrate myself, and sing myself...undisguised and naked" Walt Whitman
So take time to show appreciation for your uniqueness. If you have a talent, express it! If you like a certain type of music or activity that is unique to your social circle, embrace it and embrace yourself.
Take small steps everyday to become more of who you naturally are, and before you know it, there will come a time when the only person you have to answer to is... you.
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