Updated: Sep 15, 2019
Our own life, one would think…. However, when it comes to making choices and decisions that are not generally popular in the societies that we live in, our business suddenly becomes everyone's else's business. It suddenly seems like we don't have a right or power to make our own decision and to go ahead with our own choice.
Why is that?
What is happening and why is suddenly everybody else is interested and concerned with our choices?
I think I might have an insight or two on this. ;)
One reason is that whenever we decide to do something unconventional, people become a bit scared and uncomfortable. How come we, who they know (or they think they know), are doing something which is not really expected according to their definition of us? Or maybe something that is not according to their definition of what is "normal" and "should be done"? Suddenly, by making our choice, we threaten their sense of familiarity and their sense of predictability. We make us and therefore their environment unsafe because by our actions we are challenging the status quo.
How does it work? Once we are part of somebody's life, we are part of their emotional environment. That is especially true with our birth families, where our parents and siblings and members of the extended family have put us in a certain "role", because they have seen us growing up, therefore they "know" us and know "what we are like".
Imagine you have a book, which you have read a few times and you know that in chapter one X happens, in chapter two Y happens and in chapter three Z happens. Since you been reading this book, you know what kind of book it is. Also, you might even know or kind of have a feel about what will happen in the chapters to come. Then you read the next chapter and what is written in there doesn't make sense. You thought you were reading a novel, but the next chapter sounds like a Sci-Fi… What is this? What is happening? What kind of book is this? Then you flip through the chapters again and you discover that there are some new pages or bits of information in the chapters one, two and three which you have missed when you were reading it earlier. Suddenly it hits you that the novel that you read and love is not a novel at all, but a Sci-Fi thriller, which you don't even understand! That's uncomfortable! This same happens with us and them. Our behaviour and choices that fall out of normally expected conventional way create unpredictability and therefore is perceived as not safe. Why? Because there are very few people who are comfortable with unpredictability and change. So basically they react the way they react to our unconventional choices because of self-preservation and because of the feeling of non-safety.
Another theory is this: by making unpredicted/unconventional choice we are putting their own choices and their lives to question. The truth is that loads of people who chosen the conventional ways of living often have done so not because of their true deep desire to do so, but because it was a societally "right " thing to do. Some people might even take pride in doing the "right" thing they don't actually like, but because it is accepted and approved by society, it makes them more "virtuous" according to their perceived societal standard. But are they truly happy? Was it worth to sacrifice their own sense of joy and direction just to be approved by society? I believe that there is often a question mark in their heads... So when they see someone from their immediate environment doing something that they did not allow themselves to do, they suddenly get rebellious: "Hey, I had to go through this sacrifice and suffering in my life, why do you think you have a right not to?" And then if we still go ahead, they start to think that maybe they have been fooled by thinking they didn't have other option and us showing them by living our life another way may look like a piece of painful evidence that actually there is another way and it works! So basically in their eyes, we are now making their choice "wrong", and nobody wants to feel that…
Okay. So to wrap this up I want to share this with you: do not be discouraged by reactions of people from your closest environment when you want to do something different. Be brave. Be brave not like a "bulldozed" who don't consider anyone around, but brave like a big-hearted* person. Have courage and compassion towards yourself in order to follow what feels like a good path (what feels like YOUR path) and become someone who will, by making a courageous choice, inspire others to do the same. Change the world. Start with the person in the mirror.
* did I just made up this word? My spell check says I did, but anyway - it is my way of saying things... ;)