From the very day I began to understand the difference between right and wrong, I realized that I had targets that had been set for me by the people around me. People who felt they had a say and they should be given audience. The stakeholders in my life as I like to call them.
My parents, my siblings, close and distant relatives and of course friends all had a list of expectations clearly spelled out on long sheets of paper with their pens in hand, just waiting to check the items on each of their lists.
One could equate me to a marketer in a newly established firm who was placed on commission without a basic take-home pay.
Whatever I was able to bring in at the end of the day was divided by a percentage and that was my share. If I brought in nothing, the company gave me nothing.
In order words, if I met the targets set for me, I was celebrated and showered with love. I was my parents’ daughter and the fruit of my father’s loins. But when I failed, I was to blame. I suffered the ridicule and rejection alone.
I exchanged my good behavior for the love and appreciation that I thought to have been freely given.
Mind you no one ever approached me to ask if I was fine with the set standards. All they were concerned about was making sure I worked against all odds to meet their expectations, else I would be tagged a failure and a good– for –nothing.
In a nutshell, that was my life.
Then I met an interesting individual. A lone ranger and an outcast.
He was interesting because his life was completely different from mine in every way. For the few minutes we talked, he told me how he was able to disappoint every single person around him and that in turn earned him the freedom he wanted to truly become who he really was.
I listened to every word he said with all concentration I could muster. I wasn’t pleased with the fact he drank so much alcohol or smoked a pack of cigarette every day. I was irritated! But I couldn’t deny that it was admirable that he did what he wanted. Whether it is good or bad, it didn’t matter.
All that mattered was that he was no longer answerable to anyone. Because they had all gotten used to being disappointed, everyone was off his back. That was what I found extremely liberating!
After the entire conversation, I realized that I had actually done more harm than good for myself. All my life I thought to be the well-behaved and obedient girl was supposed to get me some sort of freedom eventually.
I thought we could all come to a roundtable after some years and agree on the fact that I had paid my dues and lived by the book so I should be allowed to live my life on my own terms.
But no, the more I pleased everyone, the more they got used to it. The more they woke up every day expecting me to do more.
I was lured into thinking that it would end if I played my part but it didn’t end. And it sure doesn’t look like my life is going to take a different turn anytime soon.
So I have decided to strike a balance and you should too if you will have any chance of escaping the trap that has been set in your path.
Live a life that disappoints everyone else, Live a life that meets your own expectations alone!