Do you try to behave perfectly? Do you consciously make every action as polite, professional, and well mannered as humanly possible? If so, you may well be on your way to success, but you could also be heading to a life of unhappiness.
When I was in my early 20s I wanted to be behave perfectly, and I wanted to behave perfectly in every situation. I always dressed immaculately. I was polite to a fault. I did all the things that I thought “perfect” people did.
I’ll be honest. My perfect behavior did reap rewards. When I behaved perfectly I was successful. I had a great job. I had money. I dated attractive women. I had what you might call a “successful” life. But there was one thing I missed: myself.
All those years I spent trying to behave perfectly in every situation, I was doing what other people wanted, not what I myself wanted. I allowed other people to dictate the way I behaved. And I buried myself in their shadow.
Being perfect never made me happy. Problem was that I thought I would not deserve to be happy unless I was perfect. But you deserve to be happy even if you’re not perfect. Just as you have to let yourself feel beautiful even if the mirror’s not being so kind today.
Now I’ve forget to even try to be perfect. And I don’t try to meet other people’s demands. I am fiercely independent.
How’s that worked out for me?
Well, you’ll have to wait to the end to find out. But I will say, that perfection is not all its meant to be.
Because what is it to “behave perfectly”?
Who tells you what it even means to “behave perfectly”?
Your idea of perfection probably comes from imperfect people. Your friends, your family, your teachers. Of course, they are good people, but they’re not perfect. And even your own mum does not have the right to tell you what your definition of perfection should be.
But today, the vast majority of people live their lives by someone else’s definition. They might live through the media, through family expectations, through social pressure. But they do not live according to themselves.
We’re brought up to believe that there are specific ways to behave perfectly.
Don’t speak until you’re spoken to.
Always use “please” and “thank you”.
Put others before yourself.
We’ve all heard these things before. But do we even know where these ideas of perfect behaviour come from? Do you know, for instance, that “Don’t speak till your spoken to” stems from aristocrats who felt that other people didn’t have the right to speak to them unless they had expressly given them permission? Is that perfect behavior?
All these ideas we have of the right way to act begin outside of ourselves. But we all know, deep down, what it means for us to behave perfectly. And we do not need to live by someone else’s definitions.
Problem is, those rules you’ve been told are now so deeply rooted inside your mind that to dig them out you practically need an industrial-size digger.
Or you could use meditation.
My personal journey to complete self independence began when I was 23. I was in the cool crowd back then. And I knew that my friends expected me to behave in the cool way. Trouble was, I was interested in spirituality and art, neither of which my friends considered cool.
For the longest time I kept my independence pent up inside. I continued to act as one of the cool people, the type of guy my friends wanted me to be. But every day I felt a gnawing inside of me, as though a little me was trying to escape.
That gnawing grew. Before long I truly felt that if I didn’t fight to be me I would forever be a shadow of someone else’s idealism.
I’d heard that meditation can free your mind from stresses and pressure. And so I gave it a short. I started meditating. In fact I launched myself head first into meditating. And day by day I felt an increasing sense of freedom. I felt liberated. I felt I could be myself. And so I did all the things I wanted to do: I wrote, acted, sang, danced, meditate, practiced yoga….
My friends abandoned me. They didn’t want a friend who was going to acting school, dance school, meditating and doing yoga because at the time those things were not “in”. And those old friends were still completely imprisoned by their need to act in the way the media depicts as cool.
So I lost my friends. But I found myself.
I can handle losing friends who don’t accept me. I cannot handle not accepting myself. Because I life that is lived as a lie is an affront to nature. It’s just not natural. It’s an abomination.
All those phoney celebrities who pretend to be something they’re not just to become famous and make money? That’s not living. I wonder what fake people think when they get to the end of their lives and, looking back, realise they lived a lie? That must hurt deep down in your core.
Being truly 100% committed to your true self is the opposite. Because there are days you curse at yourself and think “If only I’d done what everyone else told me to do, life would be so much easier.
Yeah, easier. But like Bruce Lee said “Do not ask for an easy life. Ask for the strength to endure a challenging one”.
A challenging life lived as your true self is infinitely richer than an easy life lived as a fake. Because at the end of the day, when you look at yourself in a mirror, you can say “I am a unique gem. I am me. And by being unique and wholly true to myself, I have become a person of real value”.
That’s wealth. Regardless of the challenges. And that’s why I’ve spent so many challenging years being fiercely independent and committed to my true self.
How has my fierce independence impacted my life?
Well, it has made life harder, to be honest with you. And it has made life a lot more challenging. Making money for something you believe in (like TheDailyMeditation, which I love) isn’t easy. It’s an Everest of a challenge. But I love it. And I am very happy. Sure, I’m not rich. Sure, there are days when I think “Id I’d just walked the line society carved out for me, I’d have it easier.” But I am me, and I am armed with passion, and I have big plans moving forward.
How will I end up, being so fiercely independent? Stay tuned and I will let you know.