“One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.” ~ Walter Bagehot
We live in a country that emphasizes individual freedom, but that doesn’t mean freedom doesn’t come at a price. There seems to be an enormous, invisible rule book that we, as members of society, must follow, otherwise we risk being ostracized not only by strangers, but possibly even by those we love.
To dare to be different and step outside the rigid mold society has set, comes along with the possibility of living with the pain of standing alone.
It takes true courage to be a free thinker—to stand up for what you believe with great passion knowing well that going against the grain can hurt.
As we learn and grow we sometimes find ourselves in a double-bind. If we remain quiet about our true selves and conform, we will never truly be fulfilled, and there is no pleasure in living the life someone else has chosen for you. If we speak up and remain persistent, we may lose the approval of someone we deeply care about.
At the end of the day we must ask ourselves, which pain hurts more; the pain of an unfulfilled life or the pain of forging our own path.
We were put on this earth to create ourselves, to find our place.
We are constantly evolving. The people we are today may not be the who we will be next year, or even next week. Nothing is permanent, life is fluid and constantly changing. It’s not up to us or anyone else to stop this fluidity. Just because someone is not on your path does not mean that they are lost, and just because you create your own path does not mean you are lost either—have confidence in your intuition.
The more we fight life the more we will suffer.
Succumb, surrender, to who you really are. It can be scary to stray from the social norms, but it can also be amazing—lifting a weight off our shoulders and letting us become transparent. Be yourself, not only for yourself, but because it also gives others the courage to do the same. Once we make that choice to forgo whatever may be holding us back and be true to ourselves, only then can we be of the greatest service to others, to the world.
Be who you want to be today, decide to be different tomorrow. Either way live the life you want, not the life someone else has planned for you.
While we are all trying to find out where our piece of the puzzle fits, so is everyone else. When we seek compassion it is equally if not more important to give compassion.
If we can give each other words of acceptance rather than words of judgement, then maybe we can give each other the courage we need to do something we have always wanted to do, or simply to finally be ourselves. Take time to share a smile or give a hug, one small action can have so much impact.
To step outside of our comfort zone takes fearlessness, such a beautiful quality that only grows stronger when it is shared.
Everyday is an opportunity to learn and grow, and it’s okay to change your mind—take nothing at face value but investigate and choose for yourself. Life is not a one-size fits all category. It is instead a journey, and although I believe we should be allowed to be whomever we want, as long as we are not causing harm to ourselves, others or the planet, that is simply not the way our world works. Regardless, have the courage to stand up and speak up for your beliefs, even if your voice trembles.
Question everything and always be informed, for it is easy to follow the crowd, it is hard to transcend, but life isn’t about taking the easy route. Freedom isn’t free. Freedom takes courage.
Maja Despot is a college student trying to figure out her place in the world, while making a positive impact. She’s a veggie, a blogger and mother of a feisty puppy named Minnie, whom she absolutely adores. She enjoys yoga, crafts and learning. Maja came to United States in 1997 from the former Yugoslavia. Six months later she was fluent in English. She’s currently studying Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and hopes to use it to give back to the refugee community.
Editor: Kate Bartolotta
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