“It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The invitation
There is something about family that makes us behave in strange ways. Something about family that makes us think that it’s okay to betray our own Soul just so that we won’t disappoint them. And that it’s okay to neglect our own path, our own happiness and our own purpose in life for their happiness.
Ever since I came back to Romania to write my book, I gave all of me to my family. Because I assumed that maybe one of the many reasons why life needed me to be back home was so that I would “sprinkle some fairy dust” on them, I immersed myself in this “family world” and I did my best to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good aunt, a good niece, and so on. And before I knew it, I lost my sense of self. I was no longer Luminita, this being who had no interest in labeling herself as a “daughter”, “sister”, “aunt”, “Romanian citizen”, etc., and no interest in placing herself in all kind of “boxes” and then desperately trying to act act according to the instructions that were written on those”boxes”, but rather someone who was more concerned with not disappointing her family than she was with being true to herself.
When you you start doing things that aren’t in alignment with who you truly are, saying “yes” when deep down inside you know you should say “no” just because you don’t want to disappoint those around you, because if you do, you “risk losing their love and affection”, and when you start acting as if other people’s happiness is more important than your own, you can’t help but lose yourself. You can’t help but forget who you are, what you stand for, and what truly matters for your heart and Soul.
This is something that happens to a lot of people. Because of the many things our families, and people in general, expect from us, and because of the many ideas we have in our heads about how we should behave in our families based on the role we play – mother, daughter, father, husband, wife, etc., in a very subtle way we slowly but surely start to lose our sense of self. We forget about what we want, what we need, and who we are underneath it all, and we drift away. Consciously or unconsciously, we start behaving in ways that no longer feel truthful and authentic to us, giving up on ourselves, our dreams, needs and desires, and becoming more of whatever the world expects us to be and less of who we truly are.
“When you give to others to the degree that you sacrifice yourself, you make the other person a thief.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant, paraphrasing A Course in Miracles
We all want to feel that we belong, that we are approved and accepted by our family and everyone around us. And even though it’s beautiful to have all of these things, it’s even more beautiful to be loved for who we truly are. It’s even more beautiful to be loved for always being honest with ourselves and those we love, for standing our ground, and for always living in alignment with who we truly are.
You might think that trying to please your family and constantly making their needs more important then your own is a noble thing to do, but if in this process of you trying to make them happy you forget how to be happy yourself, than there’s nothing noble about that. What’s so noble about betraying your own Soul just so that you can please everyone around you? What’s noble about making other people’s lives and happiness more important than your own? What’s noble about betraying your own Soul just s that you won’t “disappoint” those around you?
“For far too long we have been seduced into walking a path that did not lead us to ourselves. For far too long we have said yes when we wanted to say no. And for far too long we have said no when we desperately wanted to say yes. . . . When we don’t listen to our intuition, we abandon our souls. And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don’t, others will abandon us.” ~ Terry Tempest Williams
There is a path each and every one of us needs to walk upon. A journey to full healing and self discovery we all need to take, and even though the happiness of our parents, our brothers and sisters, our partners, our children, uncles and cousins matters a great deal, it shouldn’t matter more than our own happiness. It shouldn’t matter more than our own journey, our own path and our own purpose in life.
“You are the source of all purity and impurity. No one purifies another. Never neglect your path for another’s, however great his need. Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” ~ Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha
Shake things a little bit. Have the courage to “disappoint” your family to be true to yourself. Choose short term discomfort over long term resentment. Make the relationship you have with your Soul, your path and your purpose in life the most important relationship in your life. Seek to always live your life from a place of truth and integrity. Because only by taking good care of yourself and by making yourself truly happy, can you make those you love happy as well.
“If you are happy, you can give happiness. If you don’t love yourself and if you are unhappy with yourself, you can’t give anything else but that.” ~ Gisele Bundchen
If you want to be of service to those you love, to help and make their lives a lot more beautiful, happy and meaningful, then choose to honor who you truly are. By making your happiness, health and well-being a priority, by having the courage to stand your ground and to live the kind of life you know deep down inside yourself that you should live, not only do you give your family permission to know the real you and to love you for who you truly are, but you are also inspiring them to be true to themselves and to live their lives from a place of truth and integrity.
Life is too short to be anything but happy. Too short to live a life that is not yours to live and walk on a path that is not yours to walk upon. So dare to be yourself fully. Do the things that feel right in your heart for you. Never betray your Soul just so you can please your family, or anyone else, because if you do, no matter how much love you will receive from these people, you will never feel loved enough. You will never have peace of mind. For how can you be at peace knowing that you aren’t loved for who you truly are, but for something you pretend to be. How can you be at peace knowing that you have gained the world but lost your own Soul?