The Choice - Being Me
When I was young everyone told me I must be pragmatic and do the right thing for the family. And when they weren’t telling me, peer pressure filled the gap. In those days it meant becoming a doctor or engineer or a chartered accountant. By the time I got to college, they added an MBA to the list.
I was also told that there were “good boys” and “bad boys” and I had to be the former. So in my attempts to be a good boy, I studied hard, went after the Indian Dream, blinkered myself to other possibilities and got stuck to playing a role. What was the role?
To ensure I did my best to not disappoint others’ expectations.
Imagine a cage if you will, thick unbreakable iron bars, 3 feet on either side and about a foot higher than your head. And many onlookers, people who love you, believe they care for you – they certainly intend to, people who don’t care for you (yes, sometimes there are those too); all strengthening the cage – not physically – but by the words they speak. The things they demand. The guilt they create. The outrage they generate.
And in believing you are responding to them, you build this cage. This trap that enslaves you. A slave to emotion. A slave to demands and expectations; a slave in denial; and many times, a slave to the love and obligation you feel.
Enraged. Encaged. Confused. Lost. But more often left feeling gratified, pleased, needed and useful. And that's the trap. In self-delusion. In believing that this is something you always wanted. That this is something that pleases you. In having forgotten your own voice and your own choices.
The invitation is not to be mercenary. The invitation is to be fair. The invitation is, to delve beneath all the layers of the socialization you’ve received and discover your own voice. And to find comfort with your own choices. Not at the cost of others’ choices but definitely not at the cost of your own.
The invitation is to fall in love. With yourself. With your desires. And to attempt to bring them to life just as you help the ones you love, bring their choices to life. The invitation is, to walk up to a mirror right now, look into your eyes, smile, and make a promise to yourself that you will start by making one choice that you have avoided. And that you will love yourself enough to bring that choice alive.
The invitation, is to make the choice to be fair. The invitation is to choose to love yourself as much as you love others. The invitation is to walk side by side and not behind. The invitation is not to hold back but to go forth. The invitation is to experience the exhilaration of being who you are.