"You must not take up science in high school", "What are you going to do when you grow up?", "You better plan out your life, unless you want to waste it!", "Go for something that is safe and has guaranteed results, life is too short to be risked."
Right from a very young age, all of us are bombarded with such advises. But do you think these are just plain advises? This is how our minds understands all of this:
"Do not lead you own way, do what everyone else does, simply because you are good for nothing" , "Not knowing what to do is a bad thing", "If you do not earn enough money or status, you have failed" , "Never try something where you can fail, because if you do you certainly will."
As kids we grow up believing all of this, although any of this is hardly true.
But why do we end up believing and doing what others think we must do? Because we do not know who we are. We look for approval from friends and family and do what they think is good or worthy. We believe if we do what everyone expects us to do they will like us and this would be the proof that we are lovable, good or worthy. Stupid isn't it? All this is subconscious so we do not notice ourselves while we act like that but if you pay some attention it will be clear to you how we keep trying to receive approval from everyone.
Here is the truth: Every human is different and unique. Our DNAs may be 99.99% same but it still holds a 0.001% variation and that enough to make a difference(there is no big or small on the scale of the universe.) as I said everyone is different, all are brought up in uniquely different ways, all go through uniquely different set of events so this simply implies that all of us think in different ways. The way we approach life and situations is different and so "the right thing to do" in any given moment differs from individual to individual. To put it straight, different people have different idea of "self-worth", but the problem is most of us hardly know who we really are let alone discovering our idea of self worth. So what to do? Like always we try talking a shortcut, we copy others or end up doing what they believe is the good/right thing to do (funny how everyone else is doing the same!) here is an example: You receive your first salary and you want to celebrate with your girlfriend, she on the other hand is a very generous person she asks you to donate a part of it to the poor but you are in no mood to do so. Just to match her expectations you cancel the movie you had planed and donate the same money, what you did was ignored yourself to be liked by others. Now one must understand that none of the people in the above example are wrong, its good to be generous and it is also fine if you aren't but what you choose to do must be in line with what you believe. Often while fulfilling expectations we end up into something that I like to call a "should-cage".
Being trapped in a should-cage means finding yourself doing things which you don't want to do, but you think you should do. Have you taken major decisions of your life based on what you should be doing rather than what you wanted to do?
I'll tell you about one of my should-cage: I'm a second year college student. I really enjoy studying physics but I believe college isn't my thing. I do not find it fruitful to invest my time and energy into the way they teach me, I have my own phase and style and being constantly poked on how I'm supposed to do things is a real pain. So what must I do about it? Simple answer: Quit college. But hey, slow down. Talking this major step requires me to go against a very strong notion that has been rooted into the minds of people for a very long time i.e. You can't do anything, seriously nothing without a college degree.
[India is full of orthodox beliefs when it comes to education. Here people believe that if you take up science in high school you are left with only two career choices, the medical profession or engineering. If someone comes up with the idea of doing research then he\she is certainly an idiot, while studying science for the fun of it(something that I like to do) isn't even an option. Becoming a doctor is an expensive deal unless your grades are fantastic, so most of the students end up being engineers. India generates about 1.5 million engineers every year, this is way too more than what this nation can provide employment for. But I really wonder what these young people would have done\been if they just followed the light within their hearts, instead they allowed the society to dictate their choices, did what they should have done and not what they wanted. Result of all this, lost direction in life! ]
Anyway, so we were talking about "should-cages". Do you understand now how we place our sense of worth on the "shoulds"? I have placed my sense of worth on an college degree, allowing it to define who I am, passing all my power and control to it. (Seriously got to fix it quickly!) Take a look into your lives, are you into any should-cages? Doing something you don't want to still finding hard to quit? If yes we must find a way to put back the power into our on hands.
Discover your Self-worth
The best way of doing so is knowing yourself. I have just tapped into the process and there is a long way to go, but its already so much fun. Knowing who you are includes understanding the way you think and behave, getting to know what you like and dislike, taking care of your needs and the list goes on. But just knowing isn't enough, you have to love and respect yourself for all of this. Take up full responsibility of who you are and be proud of it. I know it is easy said than done, but with the right efforts we can get there. The more you begin to know who you are the less you respond to the "shoulds". Your awareness of yourself increases your self worth and you no longer need to do what the world expects from you, because you are already good enough! This fills you with a sense of freedom like none other. You shift to a higher level of existence where your life becomes a reflection of who you are and no longer remains a collections of dead lifeless actions. You free yourself from being a social-robot and transform into a true Human!
As I continue my journey within, I encourage you to do the same. Take the leap towards your true self and witness the greatness that lies within.
If you wish to share anything the comment box awaits you. You can mail me if you like at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you later with some more humble wisdom, Stay amazing!