Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Don't Ruin Yourself

by Skald

You can't compare yourself with others: if Nature has made you a bat you shouldn't try to be an ostrich. You consider yourself odd at times, you accuse yourself of taking a road different from most people. You have to unlearn that. Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak, surrender to them, don't ask first whether its permitted or would please your teachers or father, or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that.

--Hermann Hesse

Id say thats right on the money. A true diagnosis of the problem. Most people ruin themselves by constantly worrying about what is permitted. They worry what their teachers will think. They worry what their parents and family will think. They worry what their boss will think... and what their friends will think. Some worry what their minister, priest, or "god" will think.

Through this process they destroy their dreams... and lose their bliss. They become dry husks. They descend into monotony. Some acquire a measure of comfort from the security of monotony. But the more sensitive (ie. most reading this blog) tend to be tortured by what they have given up.

Always it gnaws at them-- that sense of living the wrong life.

Ill put it as straight as I can- to live a blissful life, you've got to piss some people off... or worry them... or disappoint them. It is impossible to be true to yourself while dutifully obeying others. Some relationships have to be sacrificed. You must let go of anyone who cannot accept you as you truly are or want to be.

The flip side of this... I have found that most people in my life accept me as I am. I imagined far more judgement and disapproval than I actually got. And Ive gotten a lot of unexpected respect and admiration for doing such things as living voluntarily "homeless".

But I can't promise it will always be that way. It doesnt matter. Hesse is right. A hard choice must always be made by those who would follow their bliss: will they serve themselves or will they serve convention and public opinion?

You cannot serve both.

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