No, don’t just follow your own heart. Don’t just walk your own path

Well, I know I’m setting myself up for being pounced at in an indignant rage. I promise I don’t have a death wish, but I’ve been meaning to say this for a long time, and now I just have to.

If you scroll down your social media page, you are bound to see at least 2 to 3 versions of posts that tell you how to not give a thought (just to be polite, let’s call it ‘thought’) to what people think and be whoever you want to be. How to liberate yourself from all expectations and all social codes. How to silence the noise of people.

It’s definitely a relief to hear someone say that. Say that we are perfect just as we are and we don’t need to change for anything or anyone. It releases you from the hold of societal rules and lets you pursue your own dreams. I don’t even like the word ‘rules’ and I hate the word ‘codes’, it’s just plain irritating and makes me want to say ‘I don’t give a…well, let’s call it thought again’.

Nonetheless, sometimes I wonder, are we just playing the game of extremes? In order to avoid being in the shadow of what people think, are we just shadowing ourselves from people altogether? Is it OK to do that, to just stop getting affected by others?

In our quest to not be a social slave, Is it OK to become an insulated island?

I’m not asking this question because I’m regressive. I don’t believe that people should fall in line and follow the herd. Humans are not sheep, we need to be ourselves, follow our own paths.

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Just the same, are humans supposed to be islands? Are we supposed to go through life with blinders on, without acknowledging the people around us and with only our own vision of self in sight? It reminds me of 14 year old sullen teenagers who plug in their ears and lock themselves in their rooms. Should we treat the whole world like hormonal teens treat their parents?

The thing is, we do depend on each other in all walks of life, don’t we? The fact remains that we are not designed to be emotionally and physically self sufficient. At some point or other we have needed a parent, partner, child or friend to get us through the day. At some point we have even needed a complete stranger to help us out.

We live in a world that is entirely co dependent and yet social media buzzes with ’10 ways to stop caring about the world’. We cannot survive a day without some kind of social contact and yet we want to silence the noise of people. An hour doesn’t go by without our accessing the ‘digital society’ that exists on our phones but most of the posts we put up are around breaking free from society.

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Exactly what do we want to break free from? If we don’t want judgement why do we friend and follow 1000 people so that they can look at our pages and judge us? If we don’t want to be told what to do why do we discuss our problems publicly in the first place? If we don’t need social validation why do we stare into our phones every 10 minutes to see if the number of likes has gone up?

We need to stop kidding ourselves and face our own hypocrisy

We want people, we want society. We want their judgement, their advice, their approval and their acceptance. That’s how we are made; we are designed to live in co dependent communities.

The fact to face is that we cannot behave like hormonal teenagers who believe that their parents are the biggest obstacles in the way of their happiness and yet as soon as they feel hungry they yell for mom. Either we want mom or we don’t want mom. If we want to share our lives with people, we cannot be hypocrites and criticize society as soon as it becomes an inconvenience.

Of course I’m not saying we change who we are as per the dictates of our social circle, that is criminal, but is our self identity so fragile that we cannot accommodate anyone? Making small adjustments, explaining ourselves, trying to convince others or sometimes just allowing ourselves to get convinced by others is not going to kill our soul. It’s not going to sabotage our individual thoughts. Our souls are stronger than that! Our thoughts go deeper than that!

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So sometimes let’s be the crowd-pleaser, let’s be the one who gives in, let’s be the one who adjusts. Sometimes let’s smile when we don’t want to, let’s keep quiet when we don’t agree, let’s make the small talk that we don’t like so that the other person feels comfortable.

Let’s fight against all the things that go against the very core of who we are, fight hard! But let’s be honest about what those things are. Some things are just small inconvenient adjustments; we don’t want to make those adjustments so we make an issue out of it and start putting up posts on ‘Don’t care about the World’.

Well, we better care about the world. We live in this world. We need this world to care about us. So let’s unlock our doors and stop behaving like spoilt teenagers. Let’s follow our heart and our path but let’s create some space for others. A little space to allow those rare short moments when we follow someone else’s heart, when we walk along someone else’s path.

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