“To be great is to be misunderstood.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
The feeling of living a restrained life is comparable to that of driving while having your foot on the brake and the gas pedal at the same time, pushing hard, wasting a lot of energy, getting nowhere, and not enjoying it at all, just terrible, not a way you want to live your life.
Stoic philosophy solution is so simple that it’s really hard at the same time. To live unrestrained, you need to know the difference between the things that are under your control, chiefly your will, and the things that are not, everything else. Do this and you will become able to push the gas or the brake at your will. Let’s dig deeper.
A problem of courage
Most of the time, the feeling of restraint is really just a problem of courage. The lack of courage that comes when you cannot give yourself permission to live, if you’d just do this, give yourself permission to live, you’d immediately feel free and unrestrained.
When you lack the courage to live, you want, at least unconsciously, for other people to tell you how to live your life, be them your friends, your mother, or maybe the Instagram or YouTube stars. It can be anyone. It’s just easier, all you need is thumbs up or thumbs down, a happy face or a scorn face, it all boils down to being approved or not, if people approve of you good, then it means you are doing good, if not, you are doing bad so you need to correct your behavior. Terribly simple, right?
Whereas when you give yourself permission to do anything, there is no one telling you if you did good or not, you need to judge that for yourself, you need to use your brain and think and ask yourself how do you know if you are living well? At first, it’s unknown territory and it is scary, that’s why it is a problem of courage. This is the only road of freedom, the only one.
For no one is living your life. People might say that they’ve been through similar circumstances and the like, but at the end of the day, no one is in your own skin, you are the only person with literally your skin in your game. When it comes to living your life, there is no higher authority other than you.
The two things that are stopping you.
The first one is the fear of fucking up. Although I’d love to tell you the secret formula for not ever fucking up again, I can’t. You know, I know that fucking up is simply going to happen, that’s how you learn. Avoidable? Sure, but only up to a point. It is in failing that you know how to do better the next time. This fear can paralyze you if you let it, don’t. Do, learn, improve, repeat. Make your own life recipe book.
The second thing is the need for approval. This is currently a festering disease.
It’s commonly thought that being nice with other people comes out of the need to do good in the world, we are nice because we want to be good with people. But this is bullshit. Most of the time, you do this out of getting approval, because you cannot approve of yourself first, because you cannot decide what’s good and what is not good in your life and thus give yourself permission to live in what you deem the best way to live.
“Nice people” don’t care about the person, they care about being approved by the person. It’s not about other people, it’s about them. In reality, nice people are the egoists of the world. If you’d really care about other people, you’d do what’s right, not what is wanted.
Once you become your own man/woman, once you stand for yourself, you will no longer be restrained by the need to be told what to do by other people. They don’t like what you are doing, fine, they like what you are doing? Fine.
The only thing you really need is the personal knowledge that you have good intentions, not just for others, but for yourself as well so that we can all win.
This is how you live unrestrained. When you live for higher values, tested by yourself, other than the values of the herd.
Don’t as for permission to live, to do or not to do, to smile or not to smile. Give yourself permission to do anything right now, know that you have good intentions, focus on what you can control and you’ll be unrestrained by anything.
“Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore it if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance and Other Essays
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