The doorbell rang. Rocket started barking for a few minutes. He had always done so for many years. The bell ringing meant someone unfamiliar is at the door, a great reason to get excited about and make some noise! The rattling of the dog treat jar would make him salivate and go to his guardian. He has learnt that a treat usually follows. After breakfast, it meant walkies and he would grab his lead and collar, standing by the door, waiting patiently. Rocket was just doing his job, being himself, learning along the way.
How do you spend your day? Are you being yourself when you are working, with your partner, family or friends? Are you being true to yourself daily? Sometimes, you have to be ‘someone else’ to do your job. There may be times when you need to compromise your standards or values for someone else. How do you feel about that?
Do you hear of others when they say they are not living the life they want? Maybe they are living the expectations of their parents? Perhaps they may even living the expectations of themselves but with expectations that were placed to prove a point rather than that of their sovereign soul. Past trauma in history can influence your thinking vastly leading you away from your Fundamental Truth.
Being true to yourself is important as it allows you to live with purpose, the purpose of fulfilling your own destiny. Knowing and understanding yourself is crucial. However, it is even more important to realise that you are not a fixed entity. You are able to (and should!) change, adapt, and improve to become the better version of yourself. As you grow older, there should be a growth in the depth of your character, the goodness in your heart and the purity of your soul.
The search for your Authentic Self is perpetual. After all, what is the point of experiencing life daily if all of you have been explored and realised already? Some say life is a journey whereas others describe it as a process. A journey may indicate that you are passively being taken for a ride whereas a process is when you are actively changing during the ride. When we were children, life was a process where we learnt how to walk and talk, influenced by the environment that surrounds us, shaping our characters, beliefs and values as we grew. Somehow, the process stopped when we felt we ‘knew’ ourselves well. We started thinking that life is a ‘journey’ meant to be enjoyed. It could not be further from the truth.
Life is still happening for us, not to us, daily. It provides the best education such that the best universities in the world do not come close, but only if we seek the lessons. They need to be sought retro and introspectively with humility, curiosity and intent. When you do so, you will find that you are constantly changing and improving, enabling life to be an active process, not just a passive journey.
You will see that you are still being yourself, the eternal student and not someone with fixed character traits. You are not someone who is ‘quick-tempered’, ‘unfortunate’ or any other trait you would describe yourself. You may be that trait for now. How empowering would that make you feel? That the possibility of change is present, not just possible but actually probable. Your past is not your future.
Your purpose for your life is to be you, the best you possible. You do not want to live your life based on what others say or do. They have their own lives to live as well and they can live their own expectations. You are not obliged nor have to do it for them. To each their own. Be sure to be yourself, doing your job.
The Stoics believed that every person, animal, and thing has a purpose or a place in nature. Even in ancient Greek and Roman times, they vaguely understood that the world was composed of millions of tiny atoms. It was this idea – this sense of an inter-connected cosmos – their underpinned sense that every person and every action was part of a larger system. Everyone had a job – a specific duty. Even people who did bad things – they were doing their job of being evil because evil is a part of life.
The most critical part of this system was the belief that you, the student who has sought out self-development, have the most important job: to be good! To be wise.
Do your job today. Whatever happens, whatever other people’s jobs happen to be do yours. Be good. Rocket is doing his job daily, being true to himself including learning and being the best dog that he could be for himself. Are you being true to yourself daily?
“Whatever anyone does or says, for my part I’m bound to the good. In the same way an emerald or gold or purple might always proclaim: ‘whatever anyone does or says, I must be what I am and show my true colours.’” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7.15