Sophrosyne

How do you want to live your life?

Making the tough decision to choose you

on July 30, 2014

“Don’t ever feel bad for making a decision about your own life that upsets other people. You are not responsible for their happiness. You’re responsible for your own happiness. Anyone who wants you to live in misery for their happiness should not be in your life anyway.” – Isaiah Hankel

I read this short passage on facebook today and it resonates very strongly with my values. Growing up, I had the same insecurities as any typical adolescent. That said, it meant that my top priority was to ensure that the people around me were happy; because that means that as long as I can keep them happy, they will remain my friends. Sounds familiar?

Over the years, I learnt many hard lessons about life. The single most valuable wisdom that I have gained is that people who truly cares about you will not begrudge you for choosing your happiness. But this is not to say that you covert your friends’ boyfriend and is dead sure that he is the love of your life and proceeds to take him away from your friend. Common sense and the rule of ‘nonmaleficence’ (means to first do no harm) does apply. Now, why would you purpose break your friends’ heart just because you lust after her boyfriend?

To help you gain a better understanding of what I am trying to say, allow me to give you an example: now, we all like to be around people who makes us feel good about ourselves. In my case, I love being around people who genuinely cares for and validates me, and these people are generally happy with their lives as well. For some, they use others to make themselves feel good. They constantly criticise others in the guise of having better knowledge. They also get upset when decisions are not made in their favour. In other words, they expect you to be responsible for their happiness. Always needing you to put them ahead of you.

During my ‘need to please others’ years, I was miserable. I was constantly walking on egg shells, worrying if I had made the right decision or even said the right thing. There were times that even when I had chosen their happiness over mine, it still did not guarantee the friendship. It was awful. Fortunately, as I grew older and with the help of amazing friends who helped me realise that the more genuine the care, the less they need for you to sacrifice for them. You can make choices as an individual with no sense of guilt or misgiving.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the highest level that we all yearn to achieve is self actualisation. In my humble opinion, that means we live the life that is meaningful to us and we are happy because we are the best that we can be. Therefore, in each and every one of us, there is an innate pull to achieve our personal self actualisation. We all want to be happy, and we want to live a meaningful life. Place this in contrast with trying to please others whilst holding on to our miseries. How far is that from our natural calling? No wonder we cannot achieve self actualisation from pleasing others.

Of course the most crucial part of this post is the acknowledgement that such choices are not easy to make. This is especially if the people involved are friends for many years or even family members. It takes time and a lot of courage in order to do so. Personally, I find that spending time with like-minded friends or simply those who truly cares about you will lead you to making the right decisions eventually. So do not be disheartened if you did not find the courage to walk away from those who are not good for you. It will happen but first you must choose it.

That said, have a wonderful rest of the week!

 

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