Ahhhhh, this quote makes me smile
It feels good to say and good to think. A lot of times, we care waaaaaay too much what people think. We accept the status quo and work hard at pleasing others, often at the expense of our own happiness or true desires. We care how doing certain things will make us look, what people are saying about us behind our backs, what our friends and family will think of us, how we are being perceived, etc etc. But when all is said and done and we do the expected thing we “should” do we aren’t usually that stoked on life. What’s up with that?
Living in a way that takes what other people think into the utmost concern before our own personal dreams/goals/desires is a terrible way to live. Not being true to yourself and living out of accordance with your purpose is exhausting. Being a follower because it’s the “safest” and most comfortable way to be slowly but surely chips away at our sense of self and confidence. About 3.5 years ago, I dropped out of law school. The only reason I really ended up there in the first place was that my dad is an attorney and I wanted to please him and do something he would be proud of and deem acceptable. Plus, that’s just what people do right? They go to college, get a degree, go to grad school, get another degree, go to work, provide for their family, save for retirement, retire, and die. Sounds fun yeah? Yeah….sure. And do they do this because they love what they’re doing or because they’re fearful of what will happen to their life if they don’t? For a few, the former will be true, but for the majority, it’s the latter. And as we know, all of our decisions are made from fear and love.
When I dropped out, I cared SO much what people would say and think about me that I just didn’t tell anyone. My parents didn’t know, my friends didn’t know, and nobody other than my school advisor knew. I needed space and time to come to terms with it without judgment or pressure. It all happened when I was studying for finals in the library after months of being completely miserable with my chosen path and started breathing heavily and sweating. I quickly realized I was freaking out. In the middle of the library I was having a full blown panic attack and I couldn’t control how quickly I was losing my cool and feeling totally and completely swallowed up by fear and panic. I got up and made a mad dash to my academic advisor. I asked for withdrawal papers as I was snotting and tearing up all over her. She looked part alarmed/confused/and pitiful of my state and within 10 minutes I had signed my own release forms from law school. My entire direction changed in an instant and all of my hard work was blown to pieces. I walked to my car with an eerie sense of calm and for the first time in months and months, a little hope.
The next several months were a blur. I had no sense of direction, so I woke up everyday, got dressed in work-like attire, and took my laptop to Coffee Bean at 8:30am to map out my new life. Did I want to go back to school for something else? Did I want to move back home? How and when would I eventually tell my parents? Should I go to Europe and somehow tell my parents it’s a study abroad for school so they would pay for it until I figured out my next move? Should I get a retail job to kill time and make some money? It became exhausting TRYING so hard to just be happy and figure out what I really wanted my life to be. So, I finally stopped trying and just starting doing what felt good. And that was tons and tons of yoga. I went to classes all day everyday, and 2 months later I was enrolled in a teacher training.
I began working at the studio teaching some classes and working the front desk. I always had my cold pressed juice at work because I had started juicing many years ago to deal with the effects of Celiac’s disease and it was an important part of my diet. Celiac’s is an autoimmune intolerance to gluten that I dealt with my entire childhood in the form of eczema, an autoimmune skin rash all over my body. When I was finally diagnosed, I had a lot of digestive trauma and malbsorption issues from consuming gluten for so long without knowing it was the root of my health problems. I began juicing as a teenager to heal my digestive tract and absorb nutrients in an easily digestible way with minimal digestive labor or abrasion. I saw my health take a major turn for the better and was fascinated with nutrition and the healing power of food from then on.
Fast forward a few months working at the studio and a guy named Eric walked in to take classes. We were both drinking juice and struck up conversation about it. It turned out he was a raw food chef and we had a major shared interest in nutrition. We geeked out about all things health and quickly became best friends. Over the course of the next year, we built up a home delivery juice business throughout San Diego, and got the attention of 2 investors (now our partners). That home delivery business is now the Suja you know today. When Suja hit shelves, I finally told my parents I hadn’t been in school for quite some time. And nothing ever felt more relieving. It was like I had removed the mask and was showing who I really was. The jig was up and I was free.
So, what’s the point? The point is, I could tie up what I’m doing with my life with a pretty pink bow and make it sounds so nice, but that wouldn’t be the true story. I didn’t just graduate, know I wanted to start a juicing business, and run off into the sunset happy as could be. I had NO IDEA I would end up doing this. Sure I had been juicing and extensively researching nutrition for years, but I never thought I could actually make that my “job”. That’s just not typical and not what people do. That was a hobby, not a career. Or so I was raised to believe…
The reality is, we are a tiny speck of existence in the big scheme of things and nobody will know our names in 100 years. And if they do, we won’t be around to enjoy it. So why do we care so much what people say or think about us and actively participate in creating our lives in accordance with what’s acceptable or admirable based on society’s standards? Nothing really matters when you realize how small our lives are and how quickly they go by. We can all really do whatever we want. The reason we are here is to live in accordance with our purpose. We all have those things that make us excited, inspired, and invigorated and for some reason we tend to feel they aren’t worthy of becoming our life’s work. I remember being a child and thinking I really wanted to be an artist but believing I couldn’t realistically do that. Because art wasn’t a safe desk job that would provide for a family unless you were a Monet or Picasso. And I couldn’t be like them because I was just average like everybody else. They were famous and special. So, I set out to be like my parents and everyone else around me. And I ended up miserable until I undid it all and got back to me and who I really am and did what really makes me tick.
If you love something, do it. If you have a dream, chase it. Don’t be scared to jump. You have to dive in headfirst if you ever want to swim anywhere fun, exciting, and beautiful. It’s for sure uncomfortable and scary to step into the unknown and do things against the grain. And it’s definitely a little tough to brush off what people say or think and the expectations placed upon us. But who really cares what they think? They don’t have to live your life. They don’t have to wake up and be you everyday. So what they say or think doesn’t really matter. How you feel does.
If you’re struggling in a situation that’s not right for you or searching for something you feel missing, don’t ignore those feelings. Listen to them closely and take a good look at your life, the choices you make, and why you make them. Is there anything wrong with being a doctor, a lawyer, or an accountant? No! If that’s what you love, do whatever it takes to be that and don’t stop until you’re there. But if you’re doing something because you think you should be doing it, you will never be truly happy in that place. I urge you to stop trying so hard and let the things you’re passionate about take over. Don’t be afraid to make changes and follow your heart. Let judgments, expectations, and negative comments pass right by you. Only you know the right direction for you.
Have you ever let the opinions of others dictate your actions? Do you still?