The chance of any one individual being born is about 1 in 400 trillion.
We’re born unique, but how many die unique?
How many of us embrace our uniqueness and bring it into the world?
How many live as authentically as we possibly can?
I have no way of knowing, but I know it’s not many.
Because our society shuns uniqueness without some form of measurable success attached to it.
It’s okay for Lady Gaga to be unique because she’s wickedly and deservedly successful – and even in the face of that success, there are plenty who crap on her.
They crap on her because she’s doing what they themselves have longed to do.
They were that “weird” little kid until they learned it wasn’t safe to be that version of themselves.
The moment we believe who we are is “wrong” and, as a result, not safe is the moment our lives change.
A journey begins, but it’s not our journey.
It’s the opinions, shoulds, expectations, and “supposed tos” of anyone but ourselves as we desperately pursue the path of perceived safety.
When we’re young, we chase approval, acceptance, and love through the behaviors we believe will earn us the approval, acceptance, love, and, ultimately, safety we desire.
We become the people pleaser, the perfectionist, the overachiever, the best number 2 (standing in the shadow of where we actually want to be) we can be (this was me, plus perfectionism).
As we age, we chase the commonly accepted metrics of success: the right school, the right job, the right neighborhood, the right car, and even the right clothes, watches, and shoes.
All to earn us the approval, acceptance, love, and, ultimately, safety we desire.
We seek the comfort of the herd, hiding in plain sight behind someone else’s idea of what life is supposed to look like.
We’d rather plunge over the cliff with the rest of the lemmings than stand out in the middle of the field, feeling naked and alone.
Our pursuit of approval, acceptance, love, and safety is a knife that cuts two ways.
Every step we take towards what and who we believe we need to be is a step away from ourselves.
Our perceived safety is nothing but a mirage.
Because the moment our coping behaviors no longer work or we lose our materialistic trappings, our self-image crumbles, bringing our lives down with it.
The amount of regret we experience at the end of our lives is directly proportional to the life we lived and the life we wanted to live.
The more significant the disparity, the larger the regret.
Deep in our souls, our deepest human desires are to be seen and heard for who we are and to live meaningful lives.
When we follow someone else’s life path, we leave the best parts of ourselves, our greatest and deepest potential untapped and unfulfilled.
Our souls weep with every step away from ourselves.
The majority of the population will stay on their current path like it was a train they can’t get off of until they die.
Some will blow their lives up so they can begin anew (this was me).
Some wait for life to change, so they’re forced to change.
And some, who I believe to be the most courageous and most self-aware, will stop long enough to understand they’re chasing infinity, believing they can capture it while simultaneously running from themselves.
The moment we believed who we are was “wrong” changed the course of our lives.
The moment we examine the previously unexamined, we again change our lives.
We explore our fears; instead of running away from them, we question the beliefs that imprisoned us.
We understand that if being a people pleaser, being perfect, and being an over-achiever actually worked, why are we so miserable?
And if we’re lucky, we’ll understand perhaps one of the most significant and challenging paradoxes of our shared human experience, the essence of creating extraordinary lives:
Our deepest fears and imprisoning beliefs are the keys to what we most desire.