Lately the readings that stick to me, the interviews that get me thinking, the issues that stand out most seem to point to the same thing: finding and following your own truth is essential for leading a meaningful life. It starts with getting clarity on what is important to you. My journey through the years has revealed what’s truly important to me, often in retrospect. Each choice I made along the way was shaped in part by society and also based on my personal wants, needs and ethics. My history and personal story is different from your history and personal story so our paths are very different. Yet because we are all humans on this planet earth you and I share many experiences and are shaped by similar forces.
We are all socialized beginning at birth. What matters to your parents and caretakers and educators typically becomes what matters to you. As you take work positions in the world what matters to the leaders in your organizations becomes what matters to you or at least your work livelihood. So much so that you might be doing work that really doesn’t matter to you but the paycheck does. Or you might be are working in a field that you care about yet the company you work for doesn’t share your values. Are your truths more important to you than your position? Perhaps this is the first you have even thought about this.
It is not unusual to be 40 or 50 years old before you realize that you have been following someone else’s script for how you want to live your life. You went to school, got a job, got married, bought a house and a car and had children. There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong about any part of that. If you were making those choices for your life because they were aligned with your values and truths then bravo. Unfortunately for so many of us we went along with the social norms and didn’t question whether these decisions were aligned with our own personal truths. We never even thought about what we value and find is true for ourselves.
There are so many ways to live your life. For me, thinking about what is compassionate for me, for others, for the environment, and for all the creatures on our planet sets the focus of my way of living. I am in no way perfect in my implementation, yet I strive to do the right thing in line with my personal code. Being of service is part of my DNA and yet I know that not everyone else shares that trait. The beauty of your individual life is that your own history has built who you are. As your experiences accumulate you develop your own lens from which you view the world. You make choices that in turn lead to other choices and if you are awake to what you are doing, you learn about your own personal truths.
If you haven’t given this much thought, it is not too late. It is never too late to make adjustments to your life. Take some time now to figure out what is true and right for you. Here are some questions to consider and some different wording to spur you on. What drives you through your day? How are your actions shaped by personal beliefs? Are you going about what society has shaped you to believe but don’t care about? What are your personal ethics? What issues do you consider critical enough that you want to live by them? Are you passionate about certain causes? Passion is a difficult word for many. You needn’t be passionate or have causes to be aligned to your truths. Your truths can take so many forms. They might be passions. They might be causes. Or they might be everyday axioms for how you want to live. Perhaps it is important that you enjoy the people you work with, receive compensation in line with what you provide, create deep connections with a life partner or friends, or share your talents with others.
There are tons of ethical and personal issues, but it can be difficult to adhere to strict codes on everything. Figuring out what’s most important to you is the first step which may feel hard enough. The more difficult part might be living by those tenants. Often it is easiest to implement your truths when you are on your own, but among others and at work it can be very difficult. For instance I have clarity on my choice to not eat animal products. At this point the truth is easy and embodied in me. And yet when I go out into the world, the restaurants don’t necessarily offer food choices that align with my truth. Depending on who I am dining with I don’t always have the ability to choose an establishment that has my food options. I usually can come up with a salad and bread at most restaurants though I often feel uncomfortable among the other diners because my choices stand out as different. That isn’t easy and yet I don’t waver because the vegan life is my truth.
Perhaps you do certain things because you feel you have no choice. Remember that you do have many different choices throughout your life. Determine which choices are essential to living your truth and you will have a clearer path ahead. It takes courage to stick to your personal edict. However it is freeing when you do make choices and take actions that are aligned with your own truth. You will feel more centered, complete and at peace.