Each of us walks our own path in life. It is not up to me to judge whether another’s path is right or wrong. The only life I judge is my own. I have always felt I had a purpose, and that has been teaching. Yet, I didn’t always follow my own guidance when I was younger. Much of my early life was about fulfilling the dreams of others, particularly my parents. In midlife, I took a broader view and worked to fit in with society’s demands. Now that I am in my later years, I see that all those earlier times were preparation for my path now. I see that to really find who I am, or you are, there are three factors to consider.
One aspect of my life path has been to recognize my own importance. In my developing years, my self esteem had everything to do with the feedback I received from others. What I wore, how my hair turned out, the things I said, the thoughts I had, were filtered through the lenses of others. So my self esteem fluctuated a lot, and quite frankly, I hardly ever felt I was good enough.
One of the things I’ve learned over many years was it’s difficult, if not impossible, to satisfy others all the time. As we know, everyone has their own needs and wants that they desire to achieve, and they enlist others to help them reach their goals. Since my self esteem was tied in to my relationships, if I didn’t come through for anyone, I felt inadequate. I thought it was my job to keep others happy.
Little Did I Know
Little did I know at that time that it was actually my job to keep myself happy. How did I do that finally? First, I began to understand it was part of my life path to take responsibility for myself. I also saw it was the responsibility of each individual to take care of himself/herself. Without realizing it, I had been taking on a great deal of responsibility for others, instead of allowing them to do that for themselves.
I also gradually came to recognize if I was going to be happy, I had to feel important. My self esteem had to be strong. The only way to do that was to take care of my needs in all the ways that brought me happiness most of the time without harming others. Now, I take care of myself first, then look to the needs of others. When I do, I am happier and contribute more to the world in positive ways.
We all evolve over time, whether we understand this process or not. Some start early, working hard to discover themselves at a young age. They have an internal recognition of their importance and use it to develop a positive image. They want to do things their way and figure things out for themselves. In doing so, their self concept, or self esteem, becomes stronger over time. They also begin to form an understanding that we are all on this life path together, so helping each other works for everyone’s benefit.
Some people eventually understand this evolutionary process, and others never do. At a later time in my life, I came to recognize the importance of focusing on my internal needs, rather than the external needs of others. It was a slow process, but it was one of anticipation and joy. The more I took care of myself, the more I understood how important this was for society in general. I began to attract people and situations that reflected my own inner being. Being happy helped me attract happy people. Good things started happening more and more.
I knew I was evolving, and in that process I could see that teaching was indeed part of my life path. At first, I thought I would always be a public school teacher, As I evolved, I could see there were so many other avenues I could take to teach. Some were formal and others came from the wisdom I had acquired over the years. To consciously evolve is very exciting. It can be like riding a rollercoaster, but it is definitely worth it.
Part of the rollercoaster ride was learning how to handle my power. The power I speak of is ‘power with’ as opposed to ‘power over’. ‘Power over’ is about overcoming another. ‘Power with’ is using others in cooperation and respect.
When you take charge of yourself, you are in control. As I transitioned, I found it exhilarating at first to be on my own, making my own decisions. That power was heady. But there were, and still are, also lots of uncertainties that arose which I had to handle.
That’s when my researching abilities ramped up. I would gather information from people, the internet, situations, and experiences to decide an outcome. Sometimes I had enough information to make decisions myself, and other times I needed to trust others’ judgment. But I have been very careful to maintain my personal power. Everything outside me is a resource that I use to make the best decisions for me.
My Life Path, Our Life Path
Each of us has the opportunity to live happy, successful lives. It all starts internally. Having a strong self image leads us to understand we are important in our own right. Belief in ourselves helps us navigate our relationships, jobs, and society in general. To believe fundamentally that we each are worthy, regardless of any external judgments, is the beginning of great things to come.
We also must grow in all aspects of our life. Life is about us as individuals. But it is also about how we fit in with the greater good of mankind. That’s where our purpose is important.
And using our power for good helps us contribute to a more peaceful, loving world.
I came to understand these three aspects of my life path over a long period of time. The melding of all three happened only recently. We all develop in different ways and when the time is right. I hope my experiences will benefit you on your journey. Always remember we are always evolving. That means as we do, life gets better and better. For some it will be incremental, perhaps hardly noticeable, and for others it will be by leaps and bounds. Keep the faith and enjoy your path. Adonai.