Following Your Own Path

woman walking on pathway under the sun

“There are hundreds of paths up a mountain, all leading to the same destination, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only one wasting time is the one who runs around and around the mountain, telling everyone their path is wrong.” -Hindu Proverb

It can be hard to break free from all you’ve ever known. To explore new ideas and areas of life. Accepting one view is not the only view and there are many people with such amazing journeys. People who broke free of the expectations placed within their minds and heart, who have opened their eyes to many different areas of life. Unlocking more growth and wisdom within their own inner being.

It’s easy to close our ears and be so convicted in our own truth. Turning a blind eye to another’s truth and labeling them as false or trying to sell our own beliefs as the ultimate truth. Often causing separation and division instead of realizing we really are on the same journey. We are all heading towards the inevitable, same destination; even though we may choose to take different paths. 

This post is about many different paths and learning how to be open to new ways of thinking. Times have changed with the ever-growing technology and information being discovered daily. With the click of a button or the search of a word, we can research and look into many different cultures of today’s world and the past alike. 

I believe that having an open mind and understanding we are on this journey of life together, on separate paths, opens up the doors of compassion, acceptance, and wisdom. Not all paths align with everyone.

A person who is actively on the path of addiction may not resonate with someone on the path of religion. That is okay. Lessons are learned in both. Shame, hate, and division can blind us with a “righteous” mentality. Things are neither good nor bad. They just are. 

We all choose what path we take based on the traditions we were taught, the experiences we went through, our own perceptions, and what we personally believe. We are social creatures and sometimes I think many of us forget our paths are ours alone. We cannot force another person on our journey. They can walk beside us, but they too are on their own journey. 

Fear can creep in and well-meaning people can shove their own ideas and truths in other people’s faces without stopping to listen to what other people have to say. I wonder how many great minds were silenced because they were shamed into not speaking up due to their beliefs being too “much” for society to understand. 

We live in a world of duality, diversity, and creativity. This world is too vast to only have one “set” path. At least I believe so, if you don’t that is okay. 

These are merely my own outlooks not to be taken as right or wrong. Honestly, my views could change in a couple of years. Our minds are always adapting to new information and ways of living. Who knows what the future holds?

Belief Systems

What exactly is a belief system? According to psychologydictionary, a belief system is a set of beliefs that guide and govern a person’s attitude. Usually, it is directed towards a system such as a religion, philosophy, or ideology. Attitudes and beliefs in these systems are closely associated with one another and retained in memory.

What I personally gather from this definition is, that belief systems are like the highway to our attitude and way of life, if you will. If you have a strong belief in, let’s say, religion, then you will naturally adopt the ideas, way of life, and morals of that belief. Your brain then will seek out things that agree with your beliefs. Guiding you throughout life. 

This is also why it’s so hard to see other beliefs. When two people disagree on a way of life it can cause a collision. The foundation that the beliefs were built on can begin to shake, which can be uncomfortable. This can lead to fear and anger. Calling out another person’s way of life in shame, harassment, and judgment. 

Our beliefs develop in childhood and grow from there. With time our views change, and we may try to hold on to certain beliefs by aligning with people who hold similar ideas. This can cause a firm grip in our minds that what we believe is the ultimate truth. If you stop to think about it, what is the ultimate truth? 

I believe the ultimate Truth just IS. Everything that is or will ever be. Each moment just IS. Our opinions are not the truth, our own beliefs are not the truth because our own perceptions can muddy the reality and truth of things. Things just ARE. Even this post.

It’s scary to think we don’t know. It’s scary to fall into life and just BE.

We all have our own belief system, how we view the world, and what we hold strong in our hearts. It can be hard to stop for a moment and ask, where did this belief come from? Was it passed down, do I hold any opposing beliefs that cause me confusion, have I listened to others and come to my own conclusions based on the life I have personally experienced, or have I blindly followed another person? 

Breaking down what we were taught, what we subconsciously picked up, and what our current reality is based on the beliefs we have is hard, here are some of the ways that helped me narrow down my own belief system and see if I was truly following my own beliefs or if I was just following the crowd because I was told to do so:

  • I wrote down my values and why I had that value
  • I wrote down my life experiences and what I learned from them
  • I wrote down the views my mom, dad, and grandparents had
  • I wrote down the views my closest friends had
  • I wrote down outdated beliefs to burn as a symbol of letting go of that way of thinking
  • I gave myself permission to question my life and what was in it (This was very important for my journey, I was raised very religiously and to never ask questions)
  • I became an observer of my life, open to new experiences, ideas, and people
  • I researched and learned about other cultures
  • I tried out things that made my heart sing instead of pounding with fear

Our beliefs shape who we believe we are. What and who we engage with will strengthen or weaken what we believe. The mind is such a powerful tool, it truly is. When we don’t feel aligned with what we believe we can experience depression and anxiety, especially if beliefs collide. Confusion can cause irritability and restless nights. 

Moral Views

The second thing I wanted to touch on is morals and how they too shape one’s own path in life. According to safeopedia, Morals are rules or principles that a person may apply in daily life that is fundamentally founded on what is considered right or wrong.

Using the example above on how beliefs are like the highway to one’s way of life and attitude, morals are, in a way, like the road rules. The user guide, which helps you drive with other drivers, based on what you believe. 

Morals help us have a sense of what we perceive as right or wrong. They give the collective a sense of direction. Many people grow up in churches or communities that help us develop morals. Such as don’t steal, kill, or don’t do anything to others that you wouldn’t want to be done to you. 

It helps us live together in a more peaceful way. Of course, there are people who are not so peaceful and tend to get in their own way as well as others. Which makes life a bit harder. There are also many different ways of life and different cultures with opposing views. This too can cause separation and frustration amongst mankind. 

If you look at it from a bigger picture, at the end of the day we are all just trying to get through life the best we know how with what was taught and experienced, along with the situations we are currently dealing with. 

Your morals dictate your actions, how you respond to others, how you respond to yourself, and how you respond to situations beyond your control. Do you seek revenge after you feel someone wronged you? Do you take a deep breath and forgive them? Do you become worried about what they think of you? 

Depending on what your morals are will be the answer you are more likely to lean towards. No answer is right or wrong, it just IS. The consequence of whichever action you choose is the reaction to the decision you made. 

Consequences are neither good nor bad either. They are simply the effect of an action one may take. If you bounce a ball on the ground, good chances are the ball is going to bounce up and then come back down. It may bounce a few more times and then stop. 

Choosing to bounce the ball put forth the motion, the ball bouncing was the outcome. If the ball were flat it wouldn’t have bounced and the outcome would have been different. No right or wrong, just IS. 

This cause and effect method applies to our actions as well. Let’s say you decided to get revenge on a person who wronged you because you feel justified to do so. One of those consequences could be the loss of a friend or that friend trying to get revenge on you in some way causing a never-ending back-and-forth grudge. 

When you act on another person good chances are that person is going to react. How, is based upon their own morals and belief systems. 

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to further narrow down where your morals came from and how they impact your life:

  • How do I respond to others when I feel wronged?
  • Do my own actions cause negative or positive reactions in my life?
  • How do I view “right vs. wrong”
  • How did my parents, friends, teachers, etc… impact my way of thinking?
  • Do I have any opposing views that cause me confusion?

These questions can help broaden the mind and see where you stand within your own inner being. Knowing oneself, why you think the way you do, and the patterning of your own behavior and actions can further your own journey in life. 

I believe, we sometimes forget who we are because we’ve taken so much of others’ ideas and ways of life that we forget to stop and ask ourselves if things we learn from others resonate with us or if it causes conflicting ideas and emotions within. 

We are so busy being told what to believe we forget to ask ourselves what we believe based on our own experiences in life. Our experiences are ours alone. 

Our morals help us dictate our actions. When you zone into why and how you respond you can figure out if you want to keep or change up a few things to get to another place in life. 

Acceptance

The third topic I wanted to touch on is acceptance

One of the definitions defined by the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary states acceptance is: the act of accepting something or someone: the fact of being accepted. 

Above I mentioned my own views on beliefs and morals, beliefs were like the highway to our attitude and way of life while our morals were like the road rules. 

Going based on the example above, I feel like, acceptance is like the awareness of other drivers and the different vehicles they all drive. The understanding not all drivers drive the same car or (unfortunately) follow the same road rules as you. 

If you are someone from England visiting America you can definitely see the difference in driving, sometimes you have to adapt to other ways of driving. 

Acceptance is vital in finding and following your own path. It brings the awareness that others are also on their own journey. It brings togetherness instead of separation, hate, and shame. 

How can we be focused on our own journey if we are trying to force our views onto someone else? We can’t because we would be like the man circling the mountain base instead of making the journey to the top of the mountain, as quoted at the beginning of this post. 

We would be colliding with the other people circling the base of the mountain. Arguing and fighting instead of gearing up to make the trip up the mountain. Screaming at the other people that they are going up the wrong path as they pass by. Or finding like-minded people huddling at the base of the mountain talking about taking the climb, but never do. 

We can inspire others and share the stories of our own journeys with how we overcame certain challenges along the way, but we cannot expect others to follow the same exact path to their own inner growth. Our path may delay another instead of helping. 

Another part of acceptance is accepting the part of the journey you may be on. If you are not happy where you are use that as the base to propel you to where you would like to go in life. 

When you accept yourself as a whole you no longer need validation from others. Compliments and nice reassuring remarks are great, but they won’t be the driving factor in life. You’ll be able to trust yourself more. 

If you are someone who has trouble with acceptance here are some ways to work on acceptance:

  • Write down your views on acceptance and what it means to you
  • Write down how you react to opposing views
  • Write down boundaries for yourself
  • Read up on acceptance
  • Affirmations that are realistic, not just positive
  • Self-care

These are what helped me start accepting myself and understanding everyone is on their own journey. They may or may not work for you. 

We can accept where everyone is without taking on their own journey, emotions, or actions. This is why boundaries are important. Boundaries allow us the space to be ourselves and others themselves without crossing important morals, beliefs, and values we each hold. 

Acceptance is also accepting the fact that we do not resonate with everyone and everything. It is okay if someone does not share our same views. It is okay to walk away from those who disrupt our peace and it is okay for others to walk away from us as well. 

Conclusion

These are my own personal views of how I believe beliefs, morals, and acceptance help us on our journeys through life. Not to be taken as absolute truth, just the inner ramblings of one woman using writing as an outlet of the ever-going chatter within her mind. 

Our paths are ours alone. We can walk with others and others can walk with us, but they cannot walk your journey nor can you walk another person’s journey. 

I believe claiming to “know the way” is a bit ridiculous. You know your way, which you can share in hopes of it helping someone else, but there is more than one way of life. Scoffing, shaming, terrifying, and using guilt as tactics are only causing division, separation, and hate. At least I believe they do. 

What are your own thoughts about belief systems, morals, and acceptance? Do you believe they are important on this journey called life?

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