When people and nations in the world strive for independence, majority of them are unable to define it. Independence is a positive aspect which most of us endeavor to achieve. People become independent with age, good and bad experience, intelligence, education etc. but for many it remains a vague concept. In 1929 the feminist writer Virginia Woolf wrote an essay called “A Room of One’s Own”. In it she talks about the importance of a woman having her own room and her own space if she is to be able to read and write. Woolf’s words were aimed at women striving for equal rights with men, clearly expressing her rage and resentment exposing the absence and exclusion of women through history. Today, after almost 100 years, how many professional women are independent? When we talk about independence of individuals we mean independent thinking, behavioural independence which depends to a great extent on thinking and physical space, monitory independence. In short, to survive people need absolute independence. So what is overstretching?
What is the point in spending a life ceaselessly trying to please people who are perhaps incapable of ever being pleased? In other words why should we try hard to always be seen as doing what others expect of you? And what do we gain when we always try to live up to other’s expectations from us; I think it is a sure road to a regretful existence. I have seen people earning fat salaries, some leading their own enterprises, but in spite of all the monitory and material success they are not independent. Remember this basic truth: no one knows you better than you know yourself. And, how you seem to others and how you actually are, rarely matches. Even if others get the basic gist of who you are, they’re still missing a big piece of the puzzle. What other people think of you will rarely contain the whole truth. If this bothers you, how can you call yourself an independent person? If someone forms an opinion of you, based on surface signals then it’s up to them, not you. Why should you struggle to change other’s opinions? Leave it to them to worry about. If you know who you are, that’s best for you.
How to stop overstretching yourself to please others
If we are guided by the opinions of people whom we trust, that’s healthy. But, let’s not forget a fact that it’s only YOU who can define what’s possible for you and your life. And, if you allow people to decide things for you, they will destroy your confidence, your zeal, your abilities all of this. This small inspiring story beautifully explains my point.
There was once a bunch of tiny frogs, who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high well. A big crowd gathered around the well to see the race and cheer on the contestants. The race began. No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the well. They shouted, “Oh, way too difficult!!! They will NEVER make it to the top,” “poor things don’t have a chance,” “the well is too high”. The tiny frogs began collapsing, one by one except for those who, in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher. The crowd continued to yell, “It’s too difficult! No one will make it!” More tiny frogs got tired and gave up… But one continued higher and higher. This one wouldn’t give up! And he reached the top. Everyone wanted to know how this one frog managed such a great feat.
What was his secret? This little frog was deaf!! The wisdom of this story is: Ignore the pessimism of others, because it can take your dreams from you. Stay positive. Know thyself.
Why you should stop overstretching yourself to please others
When we give our power away, to the so called “experts” they start bullying us. Instead, weighing up all our facts and feelings about an issue, as honestly as possible, can help us to form an independent opinion based on realities. Rational independence is being able to think for ourselves; regardless of what others think and say. It involves accessing our resources, listening to our inner voice, weighing up all the facts and feelings we have accumulated, and forming opinions based on this. Mental independence is the basis of independent thinking, independent decision-making which leads to independent actions and behavior.
We behave independently when we gain mental independence, because it is only after we can think independently, we start making independent choices in life. It starts from what to eat, what to wear, and what to study, how to develop hobbies, and where to live, where to work etc In other words, mental independence enables us to act independently. Behavioral independence involves freedom from control or influence of others. Independence means you don’t need others to hold your hand every step in life’s journey. We must learn to go alone sometimes. We don’t need permission to grow. One biggest fact is of life is: not everyone who started with us will finish with us. And that’s perfectly OK.
I think, instead of living like a ‘’Bonsai” which is a dwarfing process of a tree, it is better to grow with originality. When we bother about how others label us we give them the power to turn us into shapes of their choice. We all get one life in which we learn from our mistakes. We are going to mess up sometimes. But, if we learn to listen to our intuitions, we get to decide the path. At the end, happiness is simply living your life your own way!!!