to thine own self be true

Today we ask that you be true to yourself.

To thine own self be true.

Most people do not know how to be true to themselves, because they do not know who they really are.

They look to others to tell them what to do, what to think, how to feel.  They place their trust in authority figures.  They are more apt to trust a total stranger on TV or in a magazine than their own heart.

Often, people do things because they believe it is “realistic,” or “pragmatic.”  It is all about the “bottom line.”

So: they take jobs they do not really feel passionate about, or marry people they do not really love.  They buy houses they do not really want, they invest in things they do not believe in.   Sometimes they even have children not from a place of true desire, but pragmatism.  “Well, I should have a child, because if I don’t I might regret it.  And who will take care of me in my old age?”

Generally speaking, these actions lead to a lot of suffering.

How many times have you “talked yourself into something” that did not feel good to you?

What is the outcome, when you do this?

It is good to be open to new people, new experiences, and new possibilities.  It is good to step outside your comfort zone.

But there is a big difference between being open to new experiences, and forcing yourself to do something when your heart isn’t in it.

So really be honest with yourself, about why you do things.

There is nothing wrong with making pragmatic choices.  However, when your head is pushing something that your heart is balking at, beware.

Beware also when authority figures like parents and friends urge you to do something you feel deep misgivings about.

Every parent wants his child to lead a secure, stable life.  It is only natural.  A parent wants his child to be safe.

But it may be that your soul desires something that is not particularly safe or stable.

You must follow the urging of your soul.  

Your parents and friends mean well, but they cannot know what is best for you.

Sometimes, when you are conflicted, it is good to see out counsel from trusted advisors.

But in the end, you must do what your heart urges.

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