While not always the case, truly living your life as you desire can often lead to conflicts with the other people in your life. Doing what you want may interfere with what they want and they do not like that one bit. They unfairly blame you for their unhappiness and try to guilt you into doing what they want you to do, what would serve their interests. Whether or not this would make you happy is of no consequence to them. As long as they are happy, it does not matter. Yet, in these types of situations, we are seen as the selfish ones….that has always made me laugh.
Because we are the ones making the choices that are bumming other people out, we may feel badly. Ideally, our life decisions will receive unanimous support, everyone will be happy for us and we will never have to deal with resistance, but it does not always play out like that. Someone will feel hurt, someone will not agree, someone will wish you were making a choice that benefits him more. Your choices are hurting someone and she will not hold back in telling you so, often times, repeatedly. That can even wear on the most confident, spiritually developed person.
When it comes to this situation, it is imperative that you remember to make the distinction between truly hurting other people with your actions – stealing from them, endangering their mental or physical well-being—and merely upsetting people because your choices somehow get in the way of what they want, what serves them best. In most cases, the choices that cause us the most strife or the desires we let go unfulfilled fall into the second category.
We are taught not to be selfish, to always put other people’s needs above our own, that we should live our life for other people. Now, do not get me wrong, I am all for helping other people out and clearly, we should never truly hurt people to get what we want. I think doing things to help others live a better, happier life is important, whether it is through volunteer work, your profession or just making a point to do nice things for the people you encounter in everyday life. I think one of the keys to fulfillment in life is helping our fellow man in some way.
But, this idea often gets applied in the wrong way and we deny ourselves the right to our own happiness; we feel guilty doing anything for ourselves. If our choices upset other people, we are seen as bad for making them feel that way. How dare we be so selfish. We run around trying to please everyone else and totally neglect ourselves and for some crazy reason, we think this is how it is supposed to be!
Happiness comes from within and no one can make us happy but ourselves. If the other people in your life are holding you responsible for their happiness, they are barking up the wrong tree and you need to make this clear to them. Because happiness cannot come from something outside of ourselves, you giving in to their desires will not truly help them anyway. They may feel satisfied this one aspect of their life is going okay, but it will not be the magic key to lifelong well-being. It is human nature to focus on what we not have and even if they get what they want from you, they will likely set their sights on something else that is making them unhappy. We all need to make our own happiness in life and we cannot let what other people are doing dictate it; if we always leave ourselves to the mercy of other people and other things outside of ourselves, we are setting ourselves up for a whole lot of unnecessary suffering.
Do you find your choices are upsetting other people? How do you handle it? Are you holding off on doing something because it may upset someone else? Please share your thoughts in the comment section, I would love to hear from you!
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