I grew up in an environment where every major decision that was made by me was never really made by me at all. It was confounded by what the neighbours kids doing, what were my friends doing, what would others think of me, what should I be doing and so on.
Most of us have grown up conditioned to follow what should be the right way, what is the expected of us by others and what is dictated as acceptable and the proper thing to do. . Of course there are the things that we do that serve the good of our highest selves and there are the things that we do which is morally correct.
There are some decisions however that we need to make for ourselves. Be it in our love life, our work life and daily experiences there are certain things that should come from within us. The problem is at times we are so used to making decisions based on our perception of what should be done that we end up taking a detour in our life journey, a detour that puts us in a situation of guilt and even anger. There are still lessons that we can take from it no doubt, for I firmly believe that whichever path we take during our life journey there are lessons to be learned even if it is to teach us that we in the end are responsible for our choices and therefore will have to learn to make these choices on our own.
I can take an example from my own life. I was married for 6 years before I separated from my then husband and finally got the divorce finalized in 2010. He was a good friend, my drinking buddy and someone who seemed to like me for who I was. I was going through a bad time when I first got to know him. I was in a small town, working as an intern in a hospital and feeling miserable. In short he had asked me to marry him, I said yes even though I wasn’t actually in love with him and; as the date approached and preparations were on the way I wasn’t happy. I was going through the motions but in a complete daze. I wasn’t even excited. Did I even think of saying anything ? Did I tell myself “Hold it! Something’s wrong. Is this what I truly and really want?”. No, I did not. Instead what was playing in my mind was “It’s too late. I can’t say anything anymore. What would people say? What would my parents say? The cards are being sent out. It’s not the right thing to do. I’ll just hope for the best”. The best included 2 years of depression, agonizing over what I was becoming – an angry, frustrated and depressed person that could feel her heart shrinking , guilt and most of all fear. Fear because what I was thinking of doing was not right. Fear that what I was thinking of doing wasn’t acceptable in my society. Fear of following what my heart was crying out for me to do.
I did it though. The Universe must have seen and heard what I truly needed and wanted, and as it turned out I made the decision to walk away. I had to. It was one of those points in my life when I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t go on the way I was.
Would it have made a difference if at that point of doubt and indecision I had listened to my heart instead of being the “good girl” doing the right thing? I think so. Do I regret my decision? No, because I learned that I could be strong and I think it was my first true major wake up call. It brought me back to the path I am meant to be on.
I see it a lot now. I see those that feel that they “have” to do something because..well…that *is* the right thing to do. It is what is expected of us. We feel guilty when we don’t do what is expected of us and yet inside our hearts we suffer the guilt of not being true to ourselves. A lot of times we cover up our own sadness of not following our hearts by convincing ourselves that what we have decided is the correct one, the right one. We seek validation of it from our friends and our family. We seek the validation on the outside. We look at the “should be” and the “need be” ; and tell ourselves we’re doing alright.The thing is when we aren’t following our hearts or when we deviate too far from the plan of our life we get hurt and in turn we hurt others. It’s not intentional. It just is.
When we finally wake up to our hearts calling and decide to do what is truly right for us we then need to fend off the disappointments. It amazes me sometimes that those around us try to make it an even harder process by taking us on a guilt trip. These are people who aren’t directly hurt or even involved in the decisions that we make. They are the by standers in our life, our friends and sometimes family members. Instead of letting us follow our hearts they shake their heads and hurl excuses at us, demanding apologies because we have let them down. I say to you, there is no need to apologize to them. The only person or people that we might need to apologize would be those that we directly hurt. We don’t need to apologize for “letting others down”.