The Prison of My Own Construction
June 19, 2012 § 4 Comments
I spent most of my life in a prison of my own construction.
I tried to be a good son, a good student. I looked for the approval of my peers. I took prideful note of my ascending career path. I collected external markers of success. I saw the worth of my life reflected in the regard of others.
I want now to be done with all that.
This has nothing to do with not caring about, or feeling disdain for, others. My connections with family and friends are precious. But however much I care for them, I cannot look to them to tell me who I am or how I’m doing.
The Tao teaches: “When we seek the approval of others, we become their prisoners.” They become the lens through which we view ourselves. When they are pleased with us, we are good. When they are unhappy with us, we are bad. We are so busy meeting their approval, there is no time for becoming conscious of one’s self and living an authentic life.
Escaping this prison is as simple as it is difficult. Stop measuring yourself in the reflection of what others think of you. Better yet, stop measuring yourself at all. Be yourself.
Very true indeed. It does, however, require a certain level of self-awareness for most people to be able to ‘get’ there. One needs to go over a few mountains to work out that they never end and the journey is not over the next and higher mountain but rather ‘inside’ your own self.
Yes, self-awareness so essential. And the struggle always is inside us, playing out moment to moment.
Thanks for the read and the very thoughtful reply.
Beautiful and wonderful, as always.
couldn’t agree more tom. written very clearly. keep going.