As children most of us are raised to embrace certain ways of thinking...rules to adhere to, methods to adopt, procedures to follow. We are taught what our parents believe is the best "way of life" and are often expected to accept and perpetuate this concept. Almost every decision made during our teen years revolves around insuring we emerge from the family factory in the most attractive package possible. As we grow into young adults we are sent off for education and proper training to become "productive members of society" in hopes that we can quickly be funneled down career paths. As our box falls off of the assembly line and we are shipped out into the world, we find ourselves branded with stickers displaying our official religious affiliation, political views, code of ethics, as well as a myriad of other "family and society approved" preferences or perspectives. It is not surprising, however, that over time some of these stickers begin to slowly peel and eventually fall off.
While it is obvious that receiving guidance and direction during such a malleable part of our journey is important, there comes a point in life when we must learn to make our own decisions, create our own traditions, and set our own standards. Even if we believe in most of what we have learned during our upbringing and are content with such a way of life, there will inevitably be circumstances that require us to go against the grain if we intend to be our own person. Learning to break from what family or society might believe is best for us, when necessary, in order to follow our own heart takes courage, yet it is the only way to discover our true identity.
If we allow outside influences to dictate our recipe forever, we will never truly be able to call it our own. After all, if we stand over the cookbook and follow directions meticulously, never daring to experiment, we lose out on our ability to invent new recipes or improve upon old ones. We have all met at least one happily married couple who shares with us that one or more of the in-laws disapproved of the union...witnessed a friend experience success in a field his or her parents thought was ridiculous...or used an appliance already today that was invented by someone who was probably at one time considered off his rocker for even tinkering around with the prototype. The point is, the road less traveled is only so because we are taught to follow the footsteps of others. Sometimes...we can be the footsteps left for someone else to find.
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Erin Williams, Houston Life Coach