Albert Einstein said, “Well, I have considered myself to be very fortunate in that I have been able to do mostly only that which my inner self told me to do… I am also aware that I do receive much criticism from the outside world for what I do and some people actually get angry at me. But this does not really touch me because I feel that these people do not live in the same world as do I.”
Amen, Uncle Al!
When we begin to live the authentic life, some seemingly unpleasant things start to happen around us.
First, there’s shock. She’s doing WHAT! I can’t believe this!
Then the whispers start. Hey, did you hear about her? What does she think she’s doing? Who does she think she is? Has she lost her mind?
For those who are not yet self-actualized, such comments are taken personally, spawning the need to defend oneself to those who are unwilling to change their minds about us.
Then, people with whom you’ve long associated yourself begin to caution and challenge you. You’re making a big mistake! This is not like you! How can you do this! And worse yet, How can you do this to ME!
They challenge you because they don’t understand why you would decide to make changes (and many times, changes that don’t include them), after all this time.
They try to get you to second guess yourself. You’ll never change.
They hurl doubt and fear your way. You’ll be sorry when this doesn’t work out for you.
They also throw bolts of anger at you because you are “breaking bad” — you no longer fit their definition of who you are supposed to be in their minds. You’ve broken away like it’s a horrible thing.
The self-actualized person, the one who lives his or her life authentically, no matter what anyone says, isn’t “touched” (as Uncle Al said) or fazed by such antics.
Instead, the person who breaks bad in the eyes of others is actually breaking through to his or her authentic self. It means to break past barriers that once held you back. It means to break down old ways of thinking that once made you feel trapped. It means to break new ground within yourself.
Breaking bad is radical. It’s going to shake up others’ beliefs about you. They will see you in a much different light, and it won’t always be favorable.
Breaking bad is revolutionary. It’s going to stir others’ emotions about you. They will feel uneasy around and unsure about you because you dare to defy and to break long-held expectations. Some will rise up against you to try to put you back in a place where they feel you belong, and others will rise up for and with you to help you move forward toward personal success.
Breaking bad is real. It’s going to expose the true you to others who won’t know how to handle the new you because you refuse to be defined by others for their convenient purposes.
And you will be empowered because there is nothing anyone can do to stop you from being you.
Regardless of the whispers, the accusations, the insults, the ridicule, and the taunts, the authentic person who breaks bad refuses to live a mundane life of mediocrity. S/He becomes a take-charge person, seizing every moment of life for meaning and purpose.
Confident. Daring. Inspirited. Bad-Ass. That’s what it takes to live the authentic life.
What has it taken for you to break bad into the authentic life? And what have you experienced from others as you were breaking through?