One of my favorite blog posts (you can find it in that category) has to be the list of the Five Regrets Most Given by people at the end of their lives.
This Regret ” That they wish they had lived their own life, and not the one that others expected of them” resonates strongly with many people, maybe everyone, maybe you.
Have you ever said out loud an expression that you would like to go to this exotic location, or that you wanted to buy a motorcyle, or return to school ~ only to have your inner circle shoot down that expression of interest, of desire?
Is there something you would like to do, somewhere you would like to travel? An activity you would enjoy? but you are holding yourself back?
I think what happens before we hold ourselves back, is that we have our desire balloon pricked – that balloon of interest, desire to venture, our individuality in a sense is mortally wounded by the very inner circle that we don’t hesitate to open our hearts with. They possess, we grant them in fact, with kryptonite to our ideas; but I believe they zap us unknowingly, and innocently.
Our inner circles, I hope really do want the best for us, so we really need to just listen to them with balance and weigh their comment. If our desire was to unicycle naked against the traffic on the freeway for example – then they may have a legitimate concern. Those leather seats get hot in the sun!
Consider the quote from Robert Heinlein.
“Do not confuse “duty” with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.
But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is with the leech who wants “just a few minutes of your time, please—this won’t take long.” Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time—and squawk for more!
So learn to say No—and to be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you.
(This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don’t do it because it is “expected” of you.)”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love