Existential Psychology

Follow Your Own Path

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Don’t let your important life decisions be determined by people with their own agendas or by those who only have a passing interest in what you have going on. It’s tempting to do because it frees you of the heavy burden of existential responsibility, but if you don’t follow your own path you will end up regretting it.

Asking for advice, for an objective opinion from a trusted source, is one thing but ultimately the onus is on you to decide whether this opinion syncs up with that feeling deep inside of you telling you which course of action is the correct one to take. From a self-actualization point of view profound regret is much more likely to haunt you if you live the life someone else tells you to live, even if you find external success, than if you live the life you know is yours and battle failures along the way.

If you follow your own path you will have passion and a sense of meaning to sustain you, which will make you much more resilient when you encounter setbacks and roadblocks. Human life is oh so short, and you only get one crack at it. When an Australian nurse named Bonnie Ware recorded the dying regrets of her patients, the first one on the list was “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the one others expected of me.”

And there’s the rub. All the people trying to control you, manipulate you, even those who think they have your best interests at heart, aren’t you. It’s your life they are trying to influence, yours and yours alone. The question is whether you’re going to use your life to follow your own path or to follow one laid out for you by someone else.