I am starting to realize that I have been forcing something that does not at all need to be forced. I kept thinking over and over again that I needed to always find a conclusion and with everything there is an end point or an answer but this is not true. The struggle is accepting this. Alan Watts talks about Christianity. He discusses how there must be opposing viewpoints in order to have an understanding of anything. “How do you know you are alive if you were not once dead?” “In order to be saved we must always have damned people”. This is a balance in life. It is obvious but not obvious.
I have been cursed with a case of the what if’s. I am always seeking out answers to everything. Why do I do things as I do? Why don’t things seem to pan out for me? I am now thinking, what is wrong with the way I live? I am just merely doing what I feel and think from one moment to the next and this to me is what is living. It is a stream of consciousness. So many things have conformed us to think certain ways, i.e. media, religion/church, schools/teachers, parents. I am not saying it is bad to be conformed but my question is, where is the line between being who you really are and being who society wants you to be? Internally we all know who we are but we never say everything single thing we are thinking. We have been programmed. We are taught manners when we are young. We don’t always state our thoughts in order to avoid arguments or simply out of fear. We feed off of each other. We feed off of body language and tones of voice and mannerisms. All of these actions are learned behaviors. Someone or several people from our past have molded us to be who we are today. Those people believe (as I can too) that there way is the right way. There way is morally and politically correct. I seek counseling and I am still in debate about how I feel about all of the content of the sessions. I view it all as a learning and growing experience for self. I have been asked several times what I believe the source of my anxiety stems from. I can never answer this question. In my opinion it is unanswerable. I remember as a small child going to school (kindergarten, 1st, 2nd grade) and crying the first couple of days of school. I felt anxiety overwhelm my body and I felt completely out of my comfort zone. This was a place I knew nothing about and did not understand. But why did I feel this way? Why did I feel anxiety as such a small child.
Alan Watts speaks of Christianity being a practice of the study of human existence from birth to death. Christianity is only applicable from birth to death. Well thinking about the anxiety I have experienced I start to wonder about a past life. Is there something from a past life that is causing this feeling of unease in my current life? I have gone back and forth with religion and debated whether or not having a belief in God or a higher power was the reason for my struggles but I am starting to see that this is impossible. I may be considered a damned person because I am unsure of this higher power and have not been saved but my thoughts are my own. To find happiness in life is to experience acceptance for what is. Life is a continuous process with unanswerable questions that float through the universe every single day. I am starting to see that if you are constantly seeking an answer then it is almost as if you stop living. You are seeking out something that can and will never be found. Your choices and your thoughts are your own. You may learn from others by the words you share but it is never ok to let these people decide your thought processes. This is where more struggle comes into play. We, as human beings (not all but a lot), do what they can in order to avoid conflict. There are certain subjects that are well known to be controversial that people will avoid talking about all together. Again, we have learned from a young age (again not everyone-because obviously we have several conflicts/wars in this world-just generally speaking) to use discretion when discussing certain subjects. We, again, are being molded. It seems almost impossible at this point in life to not be molded-it is the only way for survival on the planet because this is all people know…even though they don’t realize it.
If you were to round up all people and divide them according to their belief systems, I would not fit into the majority. I know this. I do not have a set belief system and this is ok because I am choosing to live every moment because that is what life is. With this being said, we are in a society in which we are burdened down with rules and regulations and if we do not want to suffer (whether it be by doing jail time, be beaten or abused in some form) we must conform to society’s rules. We like what we like and we do what we do but my question again is: when are we being genuine to self and when are we conforming to society? I believe, we as humans, seek approval. We seek approval as a whole. But as one can see, there is not one person on this earth that holds the power that can say what actions/beliefs are right or wrong. No group can determine this. So, when thinking about this, whose approval are we seeking? Are we seeking our own internal approval? I do not live for the approval of others (even though I could debate this from my actions and thought processes). I am starting to understand…although it is hard to tell people what you really think because of the fear of their reactions…no matter what they are not the people that dictate who you are as a person. We all make mistakes and they are our own to make. We may feel sadness if others are to leave us or be upset at us because of our actions but again, they are our actions and the actions which follow are also ours and hopefully those following actions will have positive results.
I believe we have to hold onto the things that make sense to us. We should not have to force anything. If what others tells you makes sense to you and you feel it is something you believe in then go with that feeling knowing that it was not forced. It is still a genuine feeling because you have been exposed to something new and different but you were not told you had to believe in it…it just seemed to naturally make sense to you. Again once you have started letting others determine who you are you have stopped living as a conscious being. You are now functioning as a conformed society. You are bits and pieces of who other people want you to be and you may not be able to find who you really are if you do this over and over and over again day by day. Throughout life there will be people you encounter that will not like you. They may not like you for reasons beyond your understanding but it must be accepted. This is one of the hardest things to do. Again, we are letting other people determine who and how we are as individuals. There will be certain people that we desparately want to like us and approve of us that never will. We must ask ourselves, why do we want this approval so badly from this set person? What makes this person “God-like” that their approval is above my own or anyone else’s? My counselor has alluded to the idea that the main person’s approval I need is my own. My happiness must come from within. BUT, this epiphany I feel like I am having in the moment has not come from her words or her “lessons”. This was something I had to figure out at the time that seemed right for me. I am sure being exposed to Alan Watts has also played a part. I understand his viewpoint and it makes sense to me. He speaks without judgment or without telling you that you must think this way or that way because if you don’t it will be detrimental to your well-being. He shows you the importance of polar opposites and being aware of both. Without one thing you cannot have or understand another.
We were all raised a certain way by our parents (again not all and I am only speaking generally) and there are several values and morals that have been instilled upon us. In reflecting back, I take a look at which morals and values I truly believe in. What did I learn from my parents that feels naturally right to me? There are quite a few things that I can name but it is easier to pick out those things I do not believe in. as an adult now, living on my own, paying my own bills I can state what I do not agree with but growing up in their house with them paying the bills and providing me with clothing and shelter and food, I never would disagree with what they said. I believed what they said because as a child they held a power. Even currently they still hold a power. It is them that gave me life. So many would say that this is the greatest gift and we as humans are only spoiled and selfish if we did not cherish this and take everything in that they say. I appreciate my parents giving me life and that will not be taken for granted but because of this I should believe everything they believe? This “ultimate gift’ should determine who I am as an individual? What if I do not want to have children? Or what if I don’t want to be a boss of some sort? Will I never be a source of power in which people listen to and believe is correct because of my title? This doesn’t quite seem fair to me? It almost sounds like my point is less valid because I didn’t take the road traveled by the majority.
I feel like if I keep revisiting this specific writing and certain specific lectures that I can hold onto this clarity…this realization and acceptance of self. How I am feeling from one day to the next is ok…even if people tell me that I am fucked up or this or that I know that is not the truth because I am living. I am doing what I feel. I am being true to self. It is not always easy to express oneself but it is easy to know oneself. The hard part is being able to accept this person. When you do not accept this person you are living in a state of constant conflict. A state of constant anxiety and worry. This anxiety and worry, it seems to be so obvious now, comes from desparately wanting the approval of others. Once you keep telling yourself and realizing you are right that it is only YOU that can determine your happiness, I believe no unnecessary worry or anxiety will exist anymore. Be who you want to be every single day without question but in the same do not try to make others be who you want them to be. If you are having a battle behind head and heart and cannot figure which one to listen to, as hard as it may be, embrace the battle and realize that you are living and you are feeling this way in the moment because this is who you are.
I must revisit my statement of saying: Be who you want to be everyday but do not try to make others be who you want them to be. The difficulty in this is unbelievable. I believe as human beings we are almost built to try to persuade people in some way or another. It all comes back to a certain degree of a need for approval. When you live solely as yourself you sometimes need reassurance and when you convince others of your viewpoints and opinions this can be a reassurance. The difficult part in this is sharing the opinion and being able to accept that others may not agree with you or have the same vision as you. Sometimes they may and these moments are wonderful but when they don’t it is important to take a step back and remember that this person is their own self. This person has walked different paths throughout life than you have and has been taught by all different people than you have. Look at this as an opportunity instead of as being defeated.
If you question and doubt yourself take another step back and come to the realization that you are not being true to self. You have once again made yourself stop living…stop living for you. You are seeking the approval of others. There will be people that will argue with you and get angry with you and try to convince you of everything that say and depending on your character you may allow them to (I know I have over and over again throughout life-I have let tons of people walk all over me and determine my fate). Ask yourself, “what is it about this person that makes me believe that their opinion is more valuable than mine? Is it because they say it with such strong conviction?”