Respect Your (Real) Self

22 05 2012

Did you ever know someone who is so tied up in what he thinks he should be that he disables his ability to be his true self?  I know a man like that.  He spent so much time trying to fit a self-described image of “success,” that he ended up feeling so imprisoned, he did something unthinkable.  He broke inside and made a terrible, terrible mistake – one that landed him in a real guards-and-razor-wire prison.

This man assumed his happiness – his success – depended on achieving financial and professional levels that would be the envy of his “friends.” He never examined the route he mapped for himself, which was all wrong from the start, because it simply led to the wrong destination.  We are so bombarded by all manner of media, family, teachers, and even strangers that we are not WINNING, unless we drive the right car, have a house that a family of fourteen could get lost in, we have the right number of children, our teeth are blizzard white  .  .  .  You get the idea.  Happens to you, too, I know it.

When I visited this man, who’s been in the guards-and-razor-wire prison for two years (of a ten-year sentence,) I was struck by how much he had changed – not in the way I had pictured, though.  He is not bitter.  He is not depressed.  He is free.

As a result of his actions, his house was foreclosed; he lost his car, his suits, his golf clubs, his career and the mask he wore every day of his life prior to his incarceration.  While he was waiting to be sentenced, he was angry and sad.  Now that he is serving his time, he is calm. The lesson he has learned – in a very arduous and extreme fashion – is that he needs very little to be truly happy.  He is free from the driving pressure to keep up with the Jonses.  He is free to be his true self.

Happiness is of us and from us, not bestowed on us nor taken from us.  Be respectful of others. Be respectful of your true self, too.  Prison is a bad place. You can’t be free living someone else’s life.

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2 responses

23 05 2012
Beaded Blessings

I have really enjoyed your postings, Scorched Eyebrow. Thanks for sharing.

23 05 2012
MARIA ETTEL

WONDERFULLY INCISIVE, PAULA.!
WE ARE THE ONLY ONES TO DETERMINE WHAT “HAPPINESS” MEANS IN EACH OF OUR LIVES. NO ONE ELSE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS..
HOW WELL YOU DEFINE THIS.

XO XO XO XO

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