By Claudia Svartefoss
Have you ever felt a strong calling to do something different, or differently than the “mold” we were all taught to follow? I know I have, many times in my life. In fact, as a perfectionist, I feel almost compelled to do my own thing, and whenever I try to follow the “mold,” it doesn’t turn out the way it’s meant to. I’ve learned to trust my own guidance or “gut” as we sometimes call this feeling of knowing we get, that others can’t see, feel, or understand.
Listening to others
Since birth, those around us teach us everything. We’re taught to listen to them because they’re older so they know more things. And of course, they do.
But ever since we’ve evolved from physical beings focused on our physical experience into thinking, emotional beings focused on the way we perceive and our experience, we feel a much stronger calling from our own individual guidance.
This is natural, and it’s a wonderful thing. You see, we are each born with a unique set of preferences, desires, intentions, expectations, qualities, and interests. We now see more clearly that we really are, unique individuals that we can’t just follow the path others have set before us, but that we are literally creating a new path for ourselves and for others as well.
We spend our childhood and young adulthood listening to the guidance of those around us and we follow what they say. By the time we step into the “real” world, we have a pretty big momentum of being told what to do and listening to it. It’s how we perceive life to be.
Only today, more than ever, once we’re out of our school system, whether this happens when we graduate high school or university, we don’t have a clear path laid out for us, or we can’t follow it anymore because it doesn’t really work.
If you’re like me, and have been told what to do, it can be pretty scary to step out of this “comfort” zone and do your own thing. But in the same time, you’re fully aware that no matter how hard you try, you can’t do the things your parents and teachers did.
Now we have to learn to do our own thing, to trust and to follow our own guidance or intuition. And it’s not that easy since this is all new to us, but we must remember – this is also new to our parents and teachers. They’ve been told what to do their whole lives and they’ve learned to live with it, so now, their momentum in doing this doesn’t allow them to see outside of their experience. It’s difficult for them to understand that even though others are older or more experienced, it doesn’t mean they always know what’s best for us anymore.
I only had the one teacher in high school and one in university encouraging me to follow my own dreams. Everyone else kept telling me to stay put and not color outside the lines. I’ve listened for quite a while, even though not in all the details, but mostly, I did do as most advised me to. Until I finished university. That’s when having a regular nine to five was too much. That’s when I began listening to my own guidance, even though I had no proof I could succeed. I moved to Athens, Greece and began studying Greek. And even though I now live in Sweden, I believe the lesson is that there’s no such thing as “for the rest of our lives.” There are so many amazing things to experience and we have so much more freedom today than our parents did or felt they did.
Evolution is a process. It doesn’t happen over night, it happens constantly and gradually. We learn, every moment, something new that either adds up to what we know, or shows us a different way. More and more of us are feeling this strong calling to create our own business, products, to do our own thing because we have such a strong vision of what’s next that we can’t settle for what we now have.
In the same time, there are those who are still able to follow the older ways, to listen to others, to do as they are told or advised. It’s natural to have friends and family who aren’t ready to follow their own guidance and who still listen to what they too were taught.
Whenever another advises us, they do so from their wonderfully subjective, personal perspective. Their advice is a reflection of their own beliefs therefore of the way they see themselves and the world. For the most part, the advice we’re given has very little to do with us.
So if you’re told, “Don’t venture out there, just follow the traditional ways,” you might want to take that with a grain of salt. It’s important to understand that whatever the advice is, in most cases, it comes from a sincere place of caring and wanting what’s best for you.
I’ve wanted to do things my own way almost always. It was never about rebelling against the rules for me, it was about following my own path because of a deeper understanding that the rules weren’t going to serve me as well as they were intended to. And I’ve been discouraged from doing that almost every time because the people around me hadn’t even contemplated the idea that there could be more, that we could actually do things differently.
I didn’t move to Greece to “show them wrong.” I moved because I felt called toward more, toward what I really wanted – which was, at the basis, freedom. It always is, isn’t it?
For a long time I couldn’t understand why they would think scaring me about what’s “out there” would help me. But then I started making the connection between the things they themselves did, and the advice they were giving me. I realized they didn’t feel this strong calling and so they didn’t have a reason to do something different. And I also realized that their advice was the advice they’d give themselves, and not me, not really.
I’m happy I didn’t listen because I was right in moving and experiencing a whole new culture. And I’m happy I got to learn to trust my own guidance…