Living Your Life
If I decide – right now, that I’m going to do EXACTLY what I want to do, forgetting everything that everybody else wants, does that make me selfish? What about if I decide that I’m no longer going to take into consideration the thoughts and opinions of others when making choices in my life? What if I just up and decide that it’s my way or the highway?
It IS your life isn’t it? Is living your life with a low tolerance for others an act of selfishness, or is living your life in a constant state of tending to others simply a mechanism to slow your growth? Maybe it’s a little of both? Neither of the two? Can living your life with a low tolerance level for others still make you a good person while preserving your own needs and understandings?
Choices, Choices, and MORE Choices…
When it comes to living your life on a day to day basis, you’d be surprised at how easily influenced you probably are. While the natural tendency is to think of yourself as being pretty independent in thought, in truth, our choices are more influenced by what’s going on around us and the needs of others than they are by what we actually think or feel. That isn’t to say we don’t have a say in what’s going on in our lives, but the old adage of “you’re in complete control” generally begins to take on a new meaning. Of course, you ARE in “complete control” with every choice you make, yet for most people this control is merely an illusion dangling in front of their face, living their life under the façade that everything they do is of their choosing.
So what’s worse, being too selfish or being a pushover?. Always possessing a “my way or the highway” kind of attitude is one of the quickest ways to alienate yourself, and simply “living your life” will turn into “living your life… of loneliness.” Not only does being selfish push away the people you currently have close to you, but it prevents those who aren’t close from becoming closer. As time goes on, you’ll transition more and more into an individual that others simply don’t want to be around.
Yet, if you harbor no small amount of self interest, then having others push you around is just as bad. There’s a huge difference in just being nice or polite and being a pawn for somebody else. Whether it’s a spouse or your boss at work, having someone else make your decisions for you because you’ve decided to forfeit that right is probably worse than being selfish to the bone. The only people you’ll naturally attract into your life will be those who think they can manipulate you in some way or form, and you’ll be living your life under the constant orders of another.
In truth, being completely selfish is almost better, because at least then you’re still free to make decisions of your own choosing, and once you sacrifice that right you lose your ability to operate as a unique individual.
The idea, ultimately, is to balance your own needs and desires with those of others around you. You never want to have to sacrifice your needs, (notice I said needs, not wants) in order to appease somebody else, because that’s taking control away from you and giving it to them. Anytime you’re not in 100% control, there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. In truth, you’re probably around 60% control, with the other 40% of your actions being dictated by other forces in your life, usually close family members, friends, or coworkers.
When it comes to “living your life,” choosing the lifestyle that best fits you, the object then is to remove as much influence that others harbor over you as possible. The more you have others influencing your decisions, the more likely you are to act on their behalf instead of your own.
Living Your Life – To Subservient
One of the biggest obstacles that can get in the way of your independence is a relationship. You probably enjoy the relationship you’re in, otherwise chances are you wouldn’t still be there, yet your significant other is easily one of the biggest factors of external influence you have in your life. That doesn’t always sound like a bad thing, but it means your decisions are no longer coming straight from yourself; you have to now balance your own thoughts with the thoughts of somebody else. Sometimes this works out great, teaching you new things about yourself you never thought possible, and sometimes this means things are no longer done in accordance with your standards.
Yet if the goal is living your life by your own judgment then how do you react? How do you live the life you want while still maintaining a balance with others?
Being too subservient leads into a natural cycle of anything from depression and anxiety to feelings of guilt as you slowly lose more and more control over yourself. You can easily become frustrated with the other person because you don’t think they’re being fair in treating you the way that they do, so a wall of tension quickly arises. You’re constantly working around the influence of someone else instead of using you own judgment, and before you know it the relationship begins to crumble at your expense.
Living Your Life – Too selfishly
On the opposite side of this spectrum is the idea of being so self-absorbed and selfish in your thoughts and ideas that it naturally pushes everyone out of your life. When you live your life with a selfish vibe to it, not only do you isolate yourself from the resources of others, but you’re also cutting down on your own personal growth.
While being selfish can lead to the acquiring of things you maybe wouldn’t otherwise have, the price of admission is just too much for the payoff. That being said, chances are if you were living a very selfish or superficial life you wouldn’t be reading this to begin with.
Living Your Life – Balanced
So without sounding like a broken record here, what does it mean to live your life in a balanced state? It means accomplishing the things you want to accomplish without trampling on others. Follow whatever it is that’s calling you in life, but don’t push others in the dirt to get there. Selfish people climb on others to get to the top, and subservient people allow themselves to be climbed on; balanced individuals don’t need to a support system to reach the top because everything they need is already within them. When you become balanced, you don’t really need the input or opinions of others to drive and propel you forward. Sure, you may appreciate these things, but you don’t REQUIRE them.
When living your life in a balanced state, success isn’t so much something you pursue, but more so something you BRING OUT. You’re not influenced by the needs and demands of others, yet you’re also not oblivious to your own needs and demands. A subservient individual worries too much about the needs of others, while a selfish person is so steadfast in idolizing themselves that they forget their original course of action.
A few things to remember:
-You’re only as reliant on others as you choose to be
-Subservience drains us of our personal control
-Selfishness denies us the resources needed to grow
-A balanced state allows us to make choices drawing upon influence only as we need it
-Any influence which doesn’t help us is going to hinder us, there is no middle ground
Living your life in a balanced state is easier than you can probably imagine, but if you’re still stuck at the end of the spectrum (subservient or selfish) then take things a step at a time. Even if you don’t want to admit it, you probably know if you reside in one of these spectrums, so begin by taking back your power or giving yourself the resources you need to grow. The closer you get to a balanced state, the easier it is to maintain, and from there you can really begin building upon your life, choosing what influences you and how it affects you.
It’s never been a question of lacking the necessary tools, but rather a question of when you’re going to start using them.