You do you, I’ll do me

August 25, 2021 • Insights on Life

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In the years leading up to me becoming an ordained Hindu monk, I had so many people tell me how I should be living my life. They knew I was very spiritually inclined and in the year before becoming a monk, I made my intentions to be a monastic clear to people. It was fascinating to me how many of them gave me advice on how I should be living my life as I will become a monk soon. None of these people were monks, nor were most of them spiritually inclined at all but somehow they were self-proclaimed authorities on monastic life.

When I chose not to renew my vows after 10 years of monastic living and chose the path of a Hindu priest, a householder’s path, I began to receive another set of advice on how I should live my life as a spiritual person in the world. None of these unsolicited advisors were Hindu priests.

It’s so much easier for someone to tell you how to live your life then for them to live the life that they want to live. And when you do not meet their expectations of you, it’s the perfect opportunity for them to criticize you, and in verbally and mentally putting you down they have a false sense of personal upliftment. 

Living up to other peoples’ expectations of what you should be or how you should live your life takes wisdom and courage not to do.

I am not saying you should never live up to people’s expectations. Here’s an example of where I worked hard to live up to someone’s expectations. When I lived with my guru in the monastery I worked hard to live up to his expectations. Why? Because he was someone I trusted and had given him permission to train and guide me. I wanted him to train me to be the best version of myself. He could see my potential and therefore could set expectations of me. These expectations were really goals. Goals I chose to strive for as well. So I wanted to live up to them. These expectations were set and driven by his selfless love for me. 

The people that truly love us and have chosen to serve us selflessly, their expectations are selfless in nature. Meaning, it is motivated by a pure desire of service and the betterment of us. These people also know how to be compassionate, express empathy, positive encouragement, timely constructive insights and more. 

Now, there are also people that hide behind the idea that they are only saying what they are saying to us because they love us and only want what is best for us. Many do this. Families especially. Parents. More often than always their expectations are not coming from a selfless place though it is disguised as so. How do we know? If the expectations you place on your child makes your child perpetually unhappy then it is not coming from a selfless place.  

My guru’s expectations of me always made me feel better about myself. Those were truly selfless expectations. 

It’s not your purpose in life to live a life that others want you to live. That is why you have your life and they have theirs. Yours is for you to live and theirs is for them to live. Your life is not for you to fulfill all their unfulfilled dreams, desires and expectations that they have failed to live up to. 

You can tell them, “You do you and I’ll do me. I don’t know how to do you or your interpretation or expectations of me.” 

Just be you, and strive to be the best version of you.

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