The title of today’s post is a quote from Mark Twain, and one that I think is very, very true. No matter how much you try to live up to other people’s expectations, unless you approve of your life yourself, you’ll never feel comfortable and you’ll never be truly happy.
For too long I found myself being a person I wasn’t. I came back to the
Since changing my lifestyle and making it clear that my outlook has changed, some people have acted very differently towards me. They probably think I’ve gone mad, wanting to live a simple life instead of one where money speaks and the environment doesn’t really matter that much. They smile and nod, but they don’t understand.
Some at least respect my choices and, like my mum, are actually trying to learn something from them. She’s now changed her clothes washing routine, is thinking about buying a wormery when she moves and looks for products that have the least packaging. She wants to do her bit for the environment, she just wasn't sure how to go about it.
Others have no intention of changing their lifestyles but respect mine and that’s fine too. Everybody has the right to make their own choices.
Sadly, there are some who still expect me to be part of their consumerism – to be interested in the latest gadgets and gizmos they've paid ridiculously inflated prices for or listen to them harp on about the ‘labelled’ clothes they’ve just bought when they already have a perfectly adequate wardrobe. That would be ok if they’d be willing to listen to me talk about the things that are important in my life without criticism, but they don’t.
To be honest, there are few people who I feel I can really relate to. Certainly no more than a handful. Not that I mind – I’ve never been a people gatherer anyway. Well, with the exception of a few ‘hard partying’ years during the 80s, that is. I enjoy my own company and I’d rather be alone than spend time with somebody I don’t really feel a bond with.
I’m more comfortable and happier now that I have my own approval for the way I live my life. And although it's always nice to have, I don’t need the approval of others. I suppose I’m lucky in that my mum brought me up to be my own person and, as an adult, she’s never ever tried to tell me what I should do. She’ll offer advice, and is the first person I turn to when I need it, but she doesn’t get insulted if I don’t take her advice; she always makes it clear that she's merely suggesting and that the final decision must be mine. I hope I’ve managed the same thing with my children.
Mark Twain was a very wise man. What’s sad is that so many people do feel they need the approval of others. Perhaps they still worry about what their parents will think of their lifestyle, or how their friends will feel about their choices, or even whether the neighbours will be suitably impressed. If they could only break free from this horribly stifling need for others' approval I’m sure they’d also understand what happiness really is. It certainly has nothing to do with money or any material goods.I'm glad I found it again.
Sharon J xx