Unhappiness with our lot in life is not an illness. Learning ways for our communities to increase their members’ capacity for empathy and compassion is a more worthwhile pursuit than discovering new psychiatric drugs.
Understanding how people utilize their biology and developmental experiences to best access their potential and how some of us come to overcome emotional and physical pain eludes formulaic solutions. We have learned only a few of the elemental factors that have the potential to nurture the transformations that we seek. Yet I believe that we have within us an innate need to aspire to realize our unique potentials. Unfortunately for many of us, the required freedom to pursue our goals is not equally distributed among us.
I am convinced that there are many paths that can help you realize your desire for personal growth and transformation. I believe that if you are persuaded by some “expert” that you must limit your aspirations, you will be Limited. Because no two of us are alike, we must resist our culture’s reliance on some designated expert to find a uniform panacea for everyone to adopt. Most of us are social creatures with a need for contact and relationships. Yet we must leave space for those of us who desire periods of self-imposed solitude. Not fitting into the mainstream is not a disease unless one’s culture only leaves room for mindless conformity. Exempt are those who have some outstanding talent that is revered by the community. Then you will be considered eccentric rather than a deviant who is to be controlled. The freedom to be eccentric or different should not be an entitlement that is only given to those who have extraordinary gifts
If you are made to accept that you have only one primary option it is likely that you will continue to be stuck where you don’t want to be.
Endorsements of unique products (supplements, drugs) or methods (types of exercise, psychotherapy, prayer, meditation) are ubiquitous. Who hasn’t heard the familiar refrain, “I tried everything but nothing worked for me until I tried _____.” Although some of us are successful in finding what helps propel us forward in our quests, too often we become discouraged by our failure to find the right model to meet our needs. I believe that if you persevere and remain open to possibilities, you will have the opportunity to find what works specifically for you. My experience has taught me to be wary of guaranteed paths to success.
Below are some suggestions that I found to be helpful:
- Maintaining the steadfast unyielding belief that change is possible.
- To expect the desired changes to occur.
- The willingness and patience to apply self-directed discipline to the practice of the chosen endeavor.
- To be open to self-reflection in evaluating the benefits of what is being tried.
- To ask for and consider the feedback and support of those who are familiar with you.
- To move on if you have given sufficient time to what you have attempted and there are no hints of positive results to encourage you to continue with this method. Choose another path for bringing about the changes you desire.
- Finally, recognize that your attempts that have not worked are not failures. Each effort you make is a potential success that may become manifest at a later time. In fact, you might re-try at a future date what has not worked in the past and find that it does work when the timing is different and when different needs, values and priorities have emerged. Remember that we are dynamic and changing beings.
Of course, the above suggestions are not definitive, but merely offered to encourage a Never Give Up attitude in service of keeping hope and possibility alive.
A few pithy insights from French author and Nobel prize winner Andre Gide:
“Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.”
“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.”
“Dare to Be yourself.”