Human lives are constantly being pulled in different directions and subjected to demands from outside forces. Some of them we want to go along with; some we’re forced to ride along beside. The older we are the more paths we’ve walked, lost, found ourselves on, resisted to leave, and feared to lose.
Of late, I’ve found myself being pulled off of my desired path by well-meaning but (for lack of better word) pushy people. They are people in my life that I respect and admire. We are compatriots in a common goal and therefore, we walk beside each other on parallel paths. But sometimes their strong personalities engage in manipulative tactics to pull me over with them on their path.
It is, in part, my own fault. I’m a people pleaser. I want to make people happy, often at the expense of myself. After all, what greater gift can I give than to be a benefit to another?
But now, after months of stress-related, psychosomatic issues, I’m realizing how detrimental this pattern can be. When I tie my worth around my ability to be useful and giving to others, I let myself be pulled along by people who insist that their path is the right and best path for me in order to feel valuable.
I let myself believe that they know me better than I do, that perhaps, they could be right. Their path seems like a good one. It’s not a bad path. It has interesting things to see along the way, it’s headed to different and new places, it has challenges and triumphs…it’s a decent path. Nothing is acutely wrong with the path.
Except it’s not mine.
I am slowly learning that there is no goodness in putting yourself second time, and time, and time again. There is no goodness in letting someone lead you away from your dream and your path. It twists your gut, it drops your mind into dark places, until all you can do is stare at your feet and feel the heavy weight of someone else’s wants and expectations breaking you down into the ground with every step as you cast longing glances back at the sunshine dappled trail you once took to so excitedly.
So how can I stop, mid stride on the dusty path, let go of the expectations and wants of others, and get back on my path? How do I love myself enough to know that I am worth the leaving?
Every decision, no matter how coerced, is a lesson, not necessarily a mistake. And what I’ve committed to for the wrong reasons, I don’t have to continue with. I tried another path. I tried to please others. I did what I thought life wanted from me. I’ve learned. I gained education along the path, methods, techniques, and experiences but most importantly–I’m learning about Me. Learning about oneself is never a mistake.
Sometimes the most important thing we can learn about ourselves is what we don’t want, what we will not endure, what we will not take, and what we will not put up with. That is how we grow strong.
So the next time you are on your path, where you should be, and someone takes your hand and says, “Hey, come check out my path over here!” you can look at it, and understand that your priorities and dreams are important enough to stay on course and take your hand back with a firm no thanks.
Your dreams are important, more than anyone who isn’t wearing your shoes will ever understand. You don’t have to justify their worth to anyone else. Your goals along life’s journey are enough. Your path is well-suited and enough. You are enough.
I’d love to hear any stories or comments you may have about how you’ve chased your own dreams and what it has brought you in terms of fulfillment and/or hardship.
Until next time, stay on your path.