I found this beautiful quote and image on Lifehack, and it really resonated with me. It posed the question; how much of what we do – is done to get approval from others?
Personally, I have always harboured a dream for running a marathon and climbing Everest. These two ideas for me are on a mental ‘I will have succeeded in life if…..’ which when put like that – is a little ridiculous.
Questioning yourself about why you want, need and desire certain things or experiences in your life – is a chance to Grow.
Whilst writing this post, I realised that I don’t really want to fulfill either of those dreams. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed walking the Shine marathon in aid of Cancer Research, because it involved long chats, some casual sightseeing of London and portaloos (none of that peeing on the roadside!). But the idea of running for hours on those long endless stretches of road, just doesn’t do it for me. Equally, climbing a mountain in freezing temperatures with a certain death-risk involved, doesn’t really appeal to me either. Sure – the view would be amazing, but I’ve been lucky enough to experience incredible views by taking a ski lift.
Why would we harbour such dreams and goals for ourselves which we do not really want? In the Name of Acceptance.
At a young age, I took these cliched ideas and made them my own, because I thought that to have really achieved in life – you needed to have ticked a long list. It is almost as if I believed that depending on the era you were born, your little number foot-tag got engraved with ‘Must Dos Before Death’ in it. That’s not to say that these dreams aren’t amazing, they just aren’t mine, and never have been. And whilst I let them RIP, I am sure that someone else will pick them up for me instead.
The need for acceptance is universal. We all want to feel Significant, Appreciated and that we have Succeeded in life. But not everyone has to climb mountains or run marathons to feel that. Plus – initially you might find that it makes you stand out, until you realise you just joined the ‘I climbed Everest’ club alongside thousands of others. It is rare for an idea to be new, or an experience to not have been lived before, let’s face it – you probably won’t be the first and definitely not the last.
However, what is unique is the meaning You give that experience. You are unique. All the dreams you harbour should be in the name of fulfilling Your own needs, not the missed opportunities of your parents, the copying of ideas from celebrities – make your dreams a pure, unedited expression of You.
Do whatever you’ve got to do – because you want to. Not so you can Tweet and Facebook about it whilst you’re doing it and be that person who ticked off something on the generally accepted ‘achievement’ list.
Here’s a little tip – photographers excluded. Only take one photo of an experience, which you can keep forever to evoke the feelings of a memory, don’t spend your whole life looking through the lens wondering what others will say or think when they see what you’ve been up to. Breathe in the air and be present in the moment. Share that one photo so you can encourage others to follow their own dreams, not so you can get outside approval.
You don’t need it, you’re already perfect.