One aspect of worldview is that there should be a controversial element to it. Not necessarily in the sense that you should court controversy for its own sake, but if you take a definitive stance on a meaningful issue, it’s only natural that some people will disagree with you.
I hinted at this in my previous post. If you look at the worldview I expressed there, it might not seem particularly controversial. Of course we need to find out what works for us.
The thing is, most people don’t make the effort to find out what works for them. That’s why I started out framing the issue in a more negative fashion. “You don’t have to take the life that’s handed to you.” I believe that most people do just that.
We live life on autopilot. I say “we” because it’s not a switch that you flip once and everything’s suddenly great. Although it does generally get easier the more we take control of our lives, we still have to make the choice every day.
Not only that, but we’re constantly bombarded by messages telling us to go with the herd in various ways. This is doubly true if you belong to any historically oppressed group. It’s one thing if you’re a straight white man and you’re difficult, but if you’re anything else, not only are you difficult, you’re also part of the reason why the group you belong to supposedly shouldn’t be taken seriously.
As you may have guessed, I can’t claim going through this life-crafting process will be easy. You will attract plenty of opposition. Unfortunately, a lot of people think they know what’s best for everyone else, and sometimes these people are very close to you. But ultimately nobody can make your choices for you.
The flip side of claiming your sovereignty is that you have to respect the right of others to do the same, even when they make different choices than you would make. The older I get, the less I’m inclined to intervene in other people’s business unless I think they’re in some sort of imminent danger or at risk of seriously harming someone else. It hurts to watch people you care about fall on their faces, but in most cases it’s best to respect where they are in their journeys.
Perhaps more importantly, they aren’t likely to listen to you anyway. People in the throes of toxic behavior have a habit of shooting the messenger when confronted. That’s why anytime someone asks me for advice, I try to get a feel for the situation first. Not to get all Jack Nicholson, but a lot of people can’t handle the truth.
It might seem like I’m contradicting myself, but the key is knowing what’s right for the situation. Don’t completely close your mind to what others have to say. Once you’ve heard them out, make your decision based on the information you have.
Most importantly, take responsibility for the decision you make. Don’t blame your decision on someone else, even if you made said decision on that person’s advice. Unless there’s some sort of obvious malfeasance, the decision is still your responsibility. Sometimes even in cases of malfeasance, there are signs that a person’s intentions toward us might not be good. But we ignore those signs because the person puffs up our ego in some way. So while a situation might not be our fault, once we see it for what it is, it’s our responsibility to handle it.
What I can say is that the journey is totally worth it. Even when the results of a choice go against me, I’d rather suffer for my own choices than feel bad about being trapped in something I didn’t choose.