“Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.” Dale Carnegie
As some of you may know, I am a preacher for authenticity. I’m not talking about a Football Jersey you bought at Model’s for $125, but the kind of authentic nature that comes from understanding one’e self, having a set of values and boundaries in life that you focus on, and being unapologetic about them.
Now I don’t condone engaging in behavior that will hurt you or other people, and I have a few articles in this category already that are specific to certain types of self improvement, we’ll call it. This post is a reminder to the authentic nature of humans that we deeply all want to understand and effectuate in our daily lives.
Bronnie Ware, an Australian Palliative Nurse who spent years taking care of dying patients in their last 3 months of their life noticed a common trend among the regrets they had.
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
“I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.”
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
Reading this brings a flutter of emotions. I hope it does for you too. Now, obviously we can’t do all the things we love all the time. This is why the right philosophy is key to fully embodying the teachings that I placed throughout this site.
Every regret stems from a level of being you or being authentic. Or in better words, these regrets are directly caused by a lack of authentic nature, of NOT being you. I understand saying “being you” is a tad cliché, but I also say there is truth in all things, and usually these truths run very deep, and require a deep understanding. This is the nature of all things, some things run so deep, that one who may be a master of them may never be able to teach them effectively and concisely to a person who is just learning it.
Being you removes regrets from life.
Authenticity removes regrets from life.
The Bhagavad Gita, the sacred Hindu text, say’s it’s better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection. I can promise you, you’ll feel dead inside with the latter, at least after a while.
I am by no means saying this is easy, especially if you grew up in America like I did, with all the consumerism and “Keeping up with the Joneses” mentalities that circulate all around us. As I write this there are a few young girls sitting nearby on their cell phones wearing nice clothes with Victoria Secret bags at their feet. I’m sure they spent a good amount of money on those clothes, and I’m not saying this is wrong at all, I love buying stuff too, like computer accessories, or books, or headphones (I love a good pair of headphones) or nice cooking equipment for the kitchen, and high quality foods – the point is you need to question your values routinely throughout life in order to be sure you’re not setting yourself up for misery.
One of my favorite movies on modern day consumerism is Fight Club. In most peoples lives you won’t hit rock bottom like Edward Norton’s character did, but I will say this, it is the quickest way to reset the values you have in life. Most of my own meaningful transformations came from hitting rock bottom in some way, whether emotional, physical, or financial. Please note I am NOT saying you should blow your apartment up or burn your house down, but I would dare you to live off of as little money as possible for a while, or even to wear clothes that make you look poor, as one ancient philosopher once did. Anything that causes you to humble yourself and see life through a different life.
Now let’s provoke some deep thought…
“When there are no enemies within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
Ancient African Proverb
“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.”
“This above all: To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
“There is nothing more satisfying than being loved for who you are and nothing more painful than being loved for who you’re not but pretending to be.”
…forever a student.