Be yourself! Your own life agenda is essential for success and happiness
Just how free do you think you are?
The word “Freedom” is one of the most emotive, explosive and contentious words in any language. The reason seems obvious: freedom is perhaps the deepest and most intense desire of the human heart.
Why do I say that? Just witness the horrendous battles that have been fought over freedom, ever since time began. It really does mean that much to most of us. It’s a “no-brainer.”
What about you? What’s your take on your own personal freedom? Are you just like the rest of us? We all take it for granted, don’t we? Don’t you just know and feel it in your bones: that you would never, ever allow anyone to take away your freedom? Or make a “slave” of you?
“No way, man! I’d rather die!”
So why would death seem a better option? Because you would be de-humanised! That’s right: without freedom we are scarcely human. We might think, “if we can’t be human, then we might as well be dead!
Freedom or death?
Yes! “Freedom or death” is a cry that resonates with all of us. That rallying cry has been repeated down through the ages; and it’s still alive and well in today’s suffering, broken and tragic world. Even if we live in a “free” country, where citizens have a greater degree of personal and political freedom, we can still suffer from a subtle, self-imposed lack of freedom.
“Self-imposed? You mean I do it to myself? You gotta be kidding me, right?”
No! You heard right! I’m dead serious. How straight do you want it? We stupidly allow ourselves to become “slaves” in our minds and hearts. We surrender our inner freedom, taking on board countless opinions, beliefs and values of other people. And the saddest part is that often we don’t even think about it, we don’t even know it!
We have our greatest enemy right there inside, hidden deep within our mind and heart. The “enemy within.”
Beware this all-embracing enemy of your freedom!
The enemy’s name? CONDITIONING! That all-powerful yet subtle influence, that’s everywhere in our life. Making us do things of which we are scarcely even aware.
It’s unrelenting: day by day, week by week, we are conditioned by no fewer than three massive influences that condition our life.
Massive influences? “Who? What? Where? When? Why? I don’t get it!”
Pause. Think for a moment. You’ll recognise them immediately: 1) family and upbringing, 2) society and the environment, 3) yourself!
It’s no surprise, of course, that the people who’ve brought us up from birth exert a colossal influence on us. All through our young years, we are often simply told what to do, how to behave, even how to think. No surprise then that when we grow up our mind, heart and spirit and crammed full of other people’s stuff. In a very real sense they’ve actually created us.
This raises a huge and important question: “How do I know what’s been taken on board from others? How do I discover whether it’s what I really want?”
As adults we need to make up our own mind. We need to judge all that stuff inside: our thoughts, convictions, beliefs, feelings, prejudices, opinions – a whole interior world. It needs judging, because there’s almost certainly a huge mixture of good, indifferent, and perhaps even bad.
So, what about everything we’ve been told growing up? What should we do? How do we judge? Well, what does any judge do? Simple! The judge ASKS QUESTIONS.
Look in the mirror. Self analysis needed
The only way we can overcome childhood conditioning, and start thinking for ourselves, is to grow up and start questioning. Question what?
I would suggest everything we’ve learned. Our beliefs, values and principles, in order to truly be our own, need to be worked through in our own minds and hearts.
That’s the only way we leave behind one world and enter another. We must grow up, and no longer “think like a child, talk like a child, and act like a child.” We ourselves must become responsible for what we think, believe, love and do.
We put aside the things of childhood, and become adults, as we reach greater and greater levels of maturity, personal freedom and self-determination. We must live our own agenda, according to our own values. Become our own person.
How much questioning do you do?
This questioning process must last throughout our life. Why? Because the society and environment we live in also exerts its own all-embracing, constant influence. We are continually bombarded with other people’s opinions, beliefs and values.
Do we take them on board, with even thinking? If we do, then we ourselves are also partly responsible for our conditioning. It’s frightening how much we are conditioned. We absorb the values, beliefs, life-style, opinions from our environment.
We simply must say “Stop! Hang on a minute! Is that really true? Does that make sense? Is that what I want to do?”
Search your heart, and discover your very own deepest beliefs and values. This self-questioning can be very painful, as we leave aside much of what we’ve learned. However, in the end you are truly free inside, creating, living and enjoying your own agenda.
Conditioned? Live your own agenda
The moral of the story is very simple. As adults we question to discover our authentic values. Then we set our own agenda according to those values: find our own truth, live our own life in our own way. Why live a lie?
But someone might object, “isn’t living your own agenda a certain recipe for selfishness and indifference to other people?”
That’s a good question. Yet the answer is clear. Our agenda must spring from our values in life. And the greatest value is love and concern for others. Our loved-ones should have nothing to fear from our truly authentic self.
If love is at the centre of our hearts and minds, then we’ll pay full respect and reverence for the agenda of all other people. This is especially true for those closest to us. Our agenda must never ride rough-shod over their genuine wishes and desires. The way forward is loving dialogue.
Ultimately you’ll be happiest by being yourself: your true, honest, inner self, spirit, mind and heart!