Lonesome Road of Self-Improvement by Paula Peterson, Dec 4, 2004
road to change and healing oneself - whether it's building better
physical health, improving ones behavior, or creating a happier and more
fulfilling life - can start out being lonely and difficult. Choosing the
"high road" so to speak, is never a popular choice - at first.
In the beginning, when we set out on the path to self-improvement, we
may attract all kinds of disapproval from those around us - anything
from ridicule from friends to withdrawal of emotional, moral and
financial support from family - as many a woeful tale reveals when told
by those who risked it all to have a life of greater meaning and
What causes family members and certain friends to become resistant,
resentful and disapproving when
want to be the best we can be? Why do they, who claim they like us -
even love us - turn a deaf ear to our yearnings and sometimes go so far
as to toss emotional obstacles in our way that are sure to thwart our
achievement? Do they really intend for us to be unhappy?
Except for those who irrefutably DO intend to block our way, most of our
friends and family don't really want us to be unhappy and would likely
be shocked if they were accused of such intention. Yet, it's undeniable
that some behave as if a real threat of abandonment exists if we succeed
in our endeavors. Our success might even trigger a painful reminder of
where they themselves have fallen short of their dreams and have lost
the courage to strive to be their best: perhaps because they, too, were
thwarted and discouraged in some way by family and friends .... and
eventually withdrew their enthusiasm and gave up on any possibility of
realizing their dreams.
Even though we may come to understand the reasons for their behavior,
such displays of disapproval are enough to discourage even the very
strong among us ... so much so that we may delay in our striving for a
better life and put our plans and goals on hold - hoping for a better
opportunity in the future which may or may not come.
And so some of us may forget what we came here to do on planet earth ...
and may never remember again for an entire life time. But at what price
to we pay when we forgo our hopes and wishes to appease the wishes and
needs of another? Are we really being more noble and loving when we
remain within the confines of some ones else's shattered hopes because
we don't want to hurt their feelings or don't want to risk being
ostracized and possibly walking our path alone for a little while? Are
we really being better people by stifling our yearnings ... or are we
only appearing "better" in the eyes of those who want us to stay the
We all need a support system because we are basically group-oriented -
and the survival of the individual depends upon the help and
co-operation of the rest of the "village", which in ancient times was
often populated by relatives. When we first begin to break away from the
original "tribe" because we want to venture beyond the boundaries of the
old beliefs and old ways of doing things, a very real fear is often
experienced: deep down in the ol' subconscious, we remember that we
cannot survive without the support of the other village members.
But break away we must and break away we do because the urge to evolve
becomes far greater than the need to remain the same. There will come a
time in everyone's life where it becomes far more painful not to grow -
lest we wither much too soon before we blossom. We strike out on our own
and eventually, we find a new "tribe" and a new "village" of like-minded
souls who becomes our new family ... a "spiritual family" so to speak.
Until we find our new "tribe", our new "community" and "village", we
often find ourselves alone. And so, the act of walking away from the old
is a very powerful act of courage ... just as courageous as any warrior
who faces his challengers. But soon, we find our spiritual "kin". We
find those who - just like us - took the risk of walking a different
path. And then we will know that it was all well worth the courage it
took to walk alone for a while.