"You have two choices in life. You can dissolve into the mainstream, or you can be distinct. To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no one else but you can be." Alan Ashley-Pitt
Right here, at the beginning, I want you to take a good look at your life and how you've live it to this point. Make an honest appraisal. How much of it has been spent attempting to please others or to fulfill someone else's desires or demands? No justifications here; those are too easy. Make it difficult for yourself. Really look. Really dig. Really recognize how much of your life has been wasted in trying to live up to someone or something else's standards.
Note: If you are one who has always lived completely by your own rules, have never set out just to please others, then you can leave us at this point. You're fine. But if an honest observation shows that you have not been completely in tune with your own wishes, dreams, and aspirations, read on.
Now for the grab. Everything you do, for yourself or for others, comes from a deep selfishness. That's right. You're selfish. Even as you're doing good, it's ultimately for yourself. For sure, others may benefit from your charity, or your involvement with them, but in the long run, you're the primary beneficiary. Does that seem somehow wrong to you?
Everyone else around you is selfish, too.
Knowing that, why not make the decision, here and now, to live as you consciously choose to live?
(Is it too late to step up and out of the mainstream, to become distinctly you, to be what only you can be? Only if you talk yourself out of it, so don't. The famous American artist, Grandma Moses, didn't begin painting until she was in her mid-70s.)
Three Immediate Ways to Claim Your Own Power
- Know yourself as intimately as you can. Be honest and open; don't lie; commit to self-education; admit your faults, mistakes, and weaknesses. Then, move forward. Maybe a new career is on the horizon...
- Take some risks. Break out of your shell; meet new people; volunteer for leadership roles in your community; get socially active; read new books on new subjects...
- See the adversities in your life as gifts that can bring you new insights, lift you out of your rut and into to new action.
You can change only yourself but you can influence the people around you. So, when you decide to step into your own life, onto your own path, and stop allowing others to dominate you, there will be resistance. Count on it. You've allowed other people to have a vested interest in keeping you where you are right now. Your decision to change will rattle their comfort zones and they will not always be amendable to those "rattlings." Be prepared. And flexible. After all, alienation is not the goal!
With all that in mind, I highly suggest the practice of compassion as you seek to be the power in your own life. And compassion is simply this:
Do the least harm and the most good.
Don't take unfair advantage of anyone, don't lie to them, or cheat them, or step on them while proclaiming your independence. They may have been selfish, like you, but they have been of great service to you in one way or another. Sugar will always be more welcoming than vinegar when it comes to personal and professional relationships. After all, just because you are becoming a strong, independent person doesn't mean you have to end your current relationships. Unless you want to, of course.
Having said that, I say this: Step up, step out, step lively, step proudly, and live your life as if it mattered. Because it does.
"If you're not pissing a few people off, raising a few eyebrows, you're not living big enough." Erin Brockovich