Living through enough, we all come to this understanding: No matter what path we choose, there will always be conflict to negotiate.
If we choose to avoid all conflict with others, we will eventually breed a poisonous conflict within ourselves. Likewise, if we attend to our inner lives, who we are will, sooner or later, create some discord with those who would rather have us be something else.
In truth, the cost of being who are are is that you can’t possibly meet everyone’s expectations, and so, there will, inevitably, be external conflict to deal with – the friction of being visible.
Still, the cost of NOT being who are are is that, while you are busy pleasing everyone around you, a precious part of you is dying inside; in this case, there will be internal conflict to deal with – the friction of being invisible.
It’s taken me many years to realize that not being who I am is more deadly, and it has taken the last ten years to try to make a practice of this.
What this means, in a daily way, is that I have been conscientious about being truthful and resist the urge to accommodate my truth away. It means that being who I really am is not forbidden or muted just because others are uncomfortable or don’t want to hear it.
The great examples are legendary: Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Rosa Parks. But we don’t have to be great to begin. We simply have to start by saying what we really want for dinner or which movie we really want to see.