I was having a conversation with a friend tonight and the subjects became quite deep (cause as intelligent, deep-thinkers that’s how we roll) and slightly maudlin. I have some thoughts I want to get down before I lose them. This might ramble a bit and may not make sense. Be warned.
One of the topics we discussed was being true to oneself. Living honestly and unapologetically without fear or shame or guilt. That’s big topic material. I’ve had a very long struggle with these ideas. For a long time, some part of me has believed that living like that would be living self-focused. Selfish. It’s always seemed a bit Ayn Rand to me. I’m starting (slowly, because apparently slow thinking is also how I roll) to come to a different perspective.
I think a lot of people, myself formerly included, view living without apology as a license to do whatever we choose and if someone else doesn’t like it well then, screw them, that’s their problem. That can be blatantly defensive and blatantly aggressive at the same time. It elevates the self to the ultimate moral authority and excuses any action as valid because it’s “true to who I am”. It’s self-centered. I think self-centered behavior always carries with it, a core of guilt. Even if it’s not consciously acknowledged, guilt wears away at a person. Guilt makes the defensive more defensive and the aggressive more aggressive and if a person is their own highest moral authority then there is no way to get rid of the guilt.
Here is my recent perspective shift. I think if you really want to live unapologetically, then you live by always trying to make the right choice. Rather than making the choice that’s best for you, you make the choice that’s best for the situation and that automatically become the best choice for you. So, how do you make the right choice? What’s the moral yardstick to measure by? I’m a Christian. That means the yardstick is love. God is my moral authority and God says that I’m always to operate out of love. Note, however, that the loving choice is not always the same as the fun choice, or the nice choice, or the friendly choice, or the “I want everyone to like me and think I’m sweet and kind” choice. Sometimes the loving choice might make the ones you love unhappy. Frankly, always making the choice that makes other people “happy” is generally very selfish. It becomes more about having others think well of you than helping them truly.
I’ve wandered. The point is, if I’m always making the best choice I can, based in love; I never have to apologize for my choices. Even if others disapprove, I’ll know that I made the right choice as best I could. I still might make a mistake but the mistake will be an honest one. I’ll know I did my best. Then I can release the guilt.
Ok, I really don’t know if this makes sense. I just wanted to get it down so I’d understand it.