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In this post I want to ask you two key questions:
- Are you being yourself around people?
- Are you happy with your life?
One thing I’ve discovered is that many people think they’re being themselves when they’re actually not, and that much of our unhappiness in life stems from not understanding who we are, and getting lost trying to be something that we think other people want us to be, instead of staying true to ourselves, our own morals, our own values, and our own personal beliefs.
- How many times do your emotions (particularly fear) hold you back from doing the things you really want to do in life… then regretted it afterward, to the point that you’ll now be wondering ‘what if?’ for the rest of your life
- How many times do you conform to others at the expense of your own happiness because you want to be accepted and liked?
- How many times do you actually say what’s on your mind around people? and how many times do you censor yourself because you believe you won’t be liked, judged negatively, and looked down upon by other people if you really are being yourself?
The question I want you to think about throughout this article is:
Are you being the person you want to be? Or are you being the person other people want you to be?
Most live their entire lives doing one of two things:
- Being nothing more than a collection of beliefs that were brainwashed into them since childhood by ignorant people who didn’t know what they were doing in the first place.
- Putting on a facade because they’re afraid of being rejected or disliked by other people.
Yet, the interesting thing is, 99% of these people I’ve met will tell you that they’re being themselves and for some reasons it’s not working… and that’s what I want to take you through and explore in-depth in this post.
Why Are You Doing What You’re Doing?
I took a few philosophy courses in college. And one thing that really bugged me about these courses that we would discuss the meaning of life, duality, morality, the nature of the universe, and postulate all sorts of theories on what’s what in the world.
But the one thing that really got to me, that seemed completely oblivious to everyone else, was the fact that we had no goal in mind.
One particular story that came to mind was when we were talking about what God is.
And I still remember the expression on their faces as I asked, “Why does defining God matter? How would knowing what God is going to change your life?”
The only answers that I could get from the group I was talking to were things like, “I don’t know. I guess it would just be nice to ”
Or to give you another example:
Why is do people get offended if you don’t say “excuse me” after you burp?
Most of the answers you will get from people are that it’s “impolite” or “inappropriate” or “disrespectful”– but what you wont get almost ever is a REAL EXPLANATION for why a person believes what they do.
So my question to you is this:
Do you believe what you believe because you actually have a valid reason for it? or are your beliefs just a confluence of ideas that other people put in your head? (keep in mind the people who put these beliefs in your head are likely following them like robots because someone put that idea in their head with no real justification or good reason).
Most people who say they are being “themselves” are actually just a confluence of the thoughts and beliefs of everyone they grew up surrounded by — they don’t have one original idea or belief in their head.
Gathering values by experiencing the world, reading, learning, traveling, and personal experience will allow you to expand and grow.
Knowledge is the tool that allows you to learn how to expand yourself and grow as a person– knowledge enables you to bring even more of yourself and your uniqueness to the surface, and it allows you to discover your own beliefs and views about life (this is why I stressed making sure you’re not just unconsciously acting out other people’s beliefs just because they were put there).
You may remember when movie star Owen Wilson tried to commit suicide in 2007.
Now, keep in mind this is a man who is worth 40 million dollars, is an a-list celebrity, and could have nearly anything materially that he wanted — all of the things most people believe would make their life “complete”.
Yet for all his physical and worldly accomplishments, he still didn’t have one thing:
Yet, here’s what I find interesting:
If you look at almost any video or photo of singer Andrea Bocelli or Ray Charles, you’ll find that in every single picture both of them have a big smile on their faces all the time (literally, type their names in to Google Images right now!).
So why is this significant?
Because both of them are completely visually blind.
To make this even more compelling, both of them weren’t born blind– they LOST their sight after having had it.
Andrea Bocelli became blind at the age of twelve after a football accident.
Ray Charles lost his sight at the age of 7 because of glaucoma, then his father died 3 years later when he was 10, and his mother passed away when he was 15.
So, getting back to my original question, what is happiness?
This leads me back to the topic of being yourself that I talked about at the beginning of the article.
The key to happiness is that, despite lacking the sense of physical sight, people like Ray Charles and Andrea Bocelli have a strong sense of who they are — they like themselves because they are far less susceptible to being influenced by other people into trying to be something they’re not.
They just do what they love the best they can, and they follow their own passions, and they find happiness within themselves in doing so (could you find me a better formula for happiness than that?).
Happiness doesn’t come from a new car, computer, iPhone — or someone saying or doing something the way you believe they should to make YOU happy. True happiness comes from setting goals for yourself in life, such as a desire to make a difference in people’s lives, change the world, and leave behind a legacy because you were here– then what you created out of your passion and love of life manifest itself into physical world.
This formula allows you to get fulfillment by helping others improve their lives and be happier simply because you’re following your passions, enjoying your life, and doing what you love to do — and you just naturally make the world a better place in the process.
But remember it ALL starts with you knowing who YOU are, and not conforming to other people’s views or beliefs.
Don’t Please Everyone
Bill Cosby had a famous quote:
“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
Make sure you don’t make it your life’s goal to try to live up to everyone else’s standards.
If you don’t like doing drugs then druggies probably aren’t going to want to be around you.
If you are a devout Christian you’re probably not going to want to hang around with atheists who will call you ‘crazy’ for having your own beliefs that don’t match theirs.
You’re not here to live up to other people’s standards or try to please them.
One person’s good is another person’s bad.
And one person’s right is another person’s wrong.
You’re here to decide what YOU want, pursue YOUR passions, and find YOUR happiness in life.
The only person’s standards you need to live up to are YOURS.
Choose who YOU want to be… otherwise you’re just going to become someone else’s image of what they think you should be, because if you follow that formula you’re NEVER going to be happy.
Decide what you want and go get it– that is the closest surefire formula for happiness you’re ever going to come across. Remember that you’re not hear to live someone else’s life — they’ve already done that. The only life you’re here to live is YOURS.
Chris is a social skills, psychology, and communication expert who works with people on finding and achieving happiness, how to make friends, and making the most of their lives. For more information you can visit his website at Popularity Secrets to read free articles, download his eBook, or get his free newsletter.
Photo by renaissancechambara