Self acceptance, not acceptance by others, is the first step to leading a genuine authentic life.
As we get older, we begin to worry about our future. We need to pay the bills and we want to get ahead. Many people want children, and still despite so many major changes in our economy and the state of the world as it is today, here on American soil things still appear to be moving on as before, and still seem status quo in many ways, and thus many still aspire for a semblance of the American dream: to buy a house, drive a nice car, be successful at something whether it be a career and/or raising a family. We want to age gracefully, not chasing the old dreams. In effect, as we get older we buy the bill of goods sold to us about age and we believe in the gospel of "you're too old" to be chasing this dream. You are "too old" to be doing that "too old" to be <enter any career typically associated with youth>. We search and seek out those things which will make us feel secure and safe in our worlds as we mature, and will also allow us to be accepted in society, by our peers, and by our families. We are still living in the shadows of our parent's generations. We still believe in the laws that were settled before us, by our parents, grandparents and maybe even our great grandparents. We want what our parents wanted for them, and we want what our parents wanted for us. We want a stable career with job security even though evidence suggests that the concept of job security is a thing of the past due to today's changing economic climate. We still want to believe in the things we were taught.
Unfortunately, much of the time believing in these older values also means letting go of the "pipe" dreams which have not proven to be lucrative, (read: yet,) and don't promise us a fortune filled future, and in many cases this means letting go of not necessarily a more meaningful existence, but often times a more passionate one.
I have been involved with music for many years. I personally meet a lot of people who give up on their more creative goals, and aspirations for a more stable paycheck, something with long term security so they can pay their bills, for example, but also so they may age gracefully, provide a secure future for their children, buy a car, a house, etc.. Unfortunately, although this may provide safety and security, too many people report that at their core they have eventually come to know and feel that this is not a genuine path for them. Something is missing. This seemed to be the safe and easy route. But, is it?
David Deida, world re-known author and speaker on sex and relationships, suggests that impotence or what we now call erectile dysfunction occurs when we are not living authentically or genuinely towards our true calling. Daniel Pink, author and motivational speaker, suggests that in order to be successful in the United States in the next several decades we will need to become a more creative society, and let go of the concept of "job security" as there will be no such thing. Pink promotes the idea of entrpreneurship, the basic tenets America was built on to begin with. Pink predicts that a few corporations will exist but most people who opt for a more creative entreprenuer, self employed lifestyle will be better off.
So why are we still pursuing the dreams of our parents? Why are so many people throwing away their passions? According to those people living creatively and authentically, this is the key, the only way to being free. So, what are most people afraid of?
Acceptance is at the core of the complex I call and what is commonly known as "following the herd." Having social status, paying ones bills, having a family, some money, being successful yet being modest and humble is respected and appreciated by our friends and family. Chasing dreams while having no money is frowned on. People are labeled as being losers for being broke, chastised or avoided by family members for "always asking for money," seen as being, vain, arrogant or self absorbed for chasing fame, or fortune although an artist or entrepreneur often knows, believes and feels his/her mission is far greater than the money or the fame that they would gladly welcome anyway. People are laughed at for being "too old," "too untalented," "too whatever." People will talk the dirty, critical talk when you are out there living against the grain. Not to mention dating and having a family often becomes much more difficult. Living the creative lifestyle or the life of an entrepreneur is tricky. It's not stable, safe nor secure, it's not for the faint of heart, and it's definitely not what worked for our many of our parents. Some people are driven by the causes of the world, to the point where they can ignore the fact that most people are driven by acceptance. But many cannot.
And yet still for many the pendulum swings. At first the pendulum may swing to extremes. And for many it often does swing back too. What this means to some is to stay true to yourself and pursue the things which are close to your heart at all costs. What this might mean for others if strong enough and have enough energy to still maintain a semblance of a comfortable lifestyle too, is finding a balance of the two worlds, which might make you feel better and closer to your authentic genuine self. The goal may be to meld the two worlds, or just to find harmony within yourself. And finally for some it might just be a distant wish, for a past lifetime or another lifetime that still in and of itself needs some acknowledgment, maybe even closure, or maybe nothing at all. The point is that if there is a part of you, within you, that feels incomplete and unfulfilled it may just need to be nourished, even if that nourishment is just a pat on the back saying, I remember you, I know you, you were once a part of me, and I acknowledge you, whatever that may mean to you. Accepting yourself might just be key to living that authentic genuine life.