I have learned over the last four decades that trying to live my life according to other people’s expectations of me, makes me miserable. For much of my life I was always worried about what other people thought about me, if other people accepted me, etc. If you want to free yourself and let go of what you think your limitations are so you can become all that you are capable of, then you must be who you are… what you should be, is not important.
God made each of us special and unique in our own way. There is no other you that is like you or who has exactly the same gifts, talents, idiosyncrasies, etc. as you do. No one can do exactly what you can do in the way that you do it. No one can do you… better than you!
However, once you make the choice to be yourself and to go for the things you want in your life, speak what is really on your mind and authentically honor who you are by following your heart, curiosity and intuition… be prepared to be verbally attacked, put down, shamed or even bullied by your friends, your family, your business partners, colleagues, acquaintances, strangers, etc. into making you conform to the way they think you should be. You may lose friends, family members may refuse to speak to you, your lover may leave you, your business partners may not want to stay in business with you, employees may quit, etc. As I talked about in my article how to become fearless, those who attack you are simply looking for leadership, but projecting their own self hatred and self-loathing onto you. No one will ever do or say anything that is not a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves in a moment. Choose peers who support you. Move away from those who do not. Those who do not support you are going to do nothing but get in your way and discourage you as you chase your dreams.
The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of the people you consistently spend your time with. An acquaintance of mine worked as a bellman in a New York hotel in the 1980s. One evening as he was escorting Microsoft founder Bill Gates, up to his room with his bags, he asked him what he felt was the primary reason for all of his success. Bill responded, “Well, I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I am smart enough to surround myself with people who are better at things I am not good at.” That’s pretty good advice from one of the worlds richest and most successful men.
If you have been following my work for a while, then you know that I have a potty mouth. I speak my mind and always tell it like it is. I will NEVER bullshit you! In order to be a great coach, you must be brutally honest with people at times. It serves no one to blow sunshine up their asses! When you blow sunshine up someone’s ass, you simply enable their continued lack of success or inappropriate behavior. I never say anything with a bad intention. My heart is pure. I simply want the best for you. I want you to be you and to stop giving a damn what other people think of you. You don’t have to talk like me if you are an ultraconservative, but at the end of the day, words only have the meaning that you give them. People who react negatively to the topics I talk about, especially about picking up women and getting laid, are simply getting offended at the way I say things or the language I use. I like more colorful metaphors. I use adult language and talk about adult subjects. I’m a guy. 90% of my clients are men. I talk publicly the way all men talk in private. I am real and I like spending my time with other people who are real. I have nothing to hide. I’m proud of who I am even though some people may get offended at what I say. It’s how I talk. I’ve talked this way since I was a child. Everybody in my family talks the same way. My friends talk this way. So do the women I date. Honesty is always the best policy, especially when it comes to being brutally honest. Obviously, if you work for someone else, you can’t tell your boss to kiss your ass the next time he or she asks you to do something that you really don’t feel like doing. Your jackass boss should motivate you to find a better job or to start that business on the side that you’ve always wanted to, so years later once you have figured your business model out, you really can tell your boss to kiss your ass!
Most people walk around wearing masks. Not physical masks, but masks that mask the true nature of their personality. A very good friend of mine acts one way around me and his other guy friends, another way when he is with his wife, he presents a phony image of himself to his children and yet another mask with the ultraconservative Bible Nazi members of his church congregation. Several decades ago when he started a family with his current wife, both of them gave up their hedonistic lifestyle (as far as she knows). But, he likes to get high occasionally. Maybe once or twice a month he’ll roll himself a big fat joint and get high as hell. When he and his wife were dating, they did all kinds of drugs together. Dropping acid, cocaine, horse tranquilizers, smoking weed, etc. Hey, it was the 60s! When they met, he was in a band with long hair and was usually broke. Her ultraconservative Bible Nazi father hated him pretty much until the day he died (she was 18 and he was 20 years older than her when they met). She loved him anyways. So the image they presented to their kids was this phony ultraconservative mask. You know what? Their kids were almost as crazy and reckless as they were. No one in his family has any idea that he has been smoking weed for decades. Even his wife. He has spent most of his life working jobs he hated because he was too scared to go for what he really wanted in life. He spent most of his life trying to live up to other people’s expectations. This has made him incredibly angry and resentful inside. Over his life he has gotten himself arrested a few times. All for stupid reasons. Just like his father. And now his son has gotten arrested several times over stupid things. So he spent his whole life hiding who he really is from everyone, including himself. He will go to his grave having never lived up to his full potential and what he was really capable of.
I have a lot of friends from high school who are ultra conservative. They do the same things with their kids as my friend did. We all went to a Catholic high school and they raised some serious hell when they were younger with me. But now that they have kids, they present a phony and inauthentic version of themselves to their children in hopes that their kids don’t make the same mistakes. Most parents raise their children that way. You know what? Most of their kids do the same things and simply hide it from their parents. Over the years, I have helped to raise the children, nieces and nephews of the women I have dated. I also used to mentor at risk kids. Kids who came from the worst kind of families. Heartbreaking stories. The best thing you can do with children once they are old enough to understand you, is to be a trusted advisor and share all of the mistakes you have made in your own life in hopes that they learn from your mistakes, and therefore do not repeat them. As kids get older and parents try to use shame and force to make their children do what they want, this destroys the communication as children start to express themselves and their personality. As their parents try to beat them into submission emotionally and mentally, all they are doing is teaching the children to start deceiving them and not listening to them more and more. The bottom line? As kids get older, they are going to do what they want. All you can do is advise them and tell them about the potential consequences of making the right or wrong choices, and love them no matter what happens. Sometimes you have to let your children fail and go through difficult things. Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Kids come through you, but not for you.”
Unconditional love means that you love your kids no matter what. If you only love your children when they do what you want them to do, that is horsetrading. That is not love. As they get older, and you try to force them or shame them to be a certain way, all you are doing is building bricks in your wall of communication. One of my teachers once said, “From the time a child is born until they are six, treat them as a king or a queen. Even when you have to be firm with them. Would you treat a king or a queen harshly or use harsh language if you were talking to them? Of course not. From the time they are six until they are twelve, treat them like a prince or a princess. Once they turn twelve and beyond, treat them as a friend.” I can tell you, his children are amazing! They turned out amazing! And they have a great relationship. Kids need unconditional love, guidance, advice, mentoring and authenticity from their parents. From experience, children seem to really start expressing who they are around the time they are 12. When parents start trying to suppress who their children really are, the children rebel and simply deceive their parents.
All of us once we become adults, usually spend the rest of our lives trying to overcome the limiting beliefs, fears and the shortcomings of our parents. Why? Because when we are children, we become conditioned to and take on all of our parents limiting beliefs, fears and shortcomings. As a matter of fact, children and the family pets will take on the same physiology and spinal patterns. Every parent wants their children to grow up and be even better and more successful than they are. If you hold back love and affection from your child, and show up inauthentically in your relationship, you will never be close. My father was physically abusive towards me. Just like his father was. When I became an adult, I had an almost nonexistent relationship with my parents for many years just like them. Why? I simply wanted nothing to do with my parents or my family once I turned 18. Our whole family is about as fucked up as they come. I was tired of being forced or shamed into fitting into their box of who they thought I should be. My mother has since passed away, but today I have a very good relationship with my father.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those that mind don’t matter — and those that matter don’t mind!” ~ Dr. Seuss