Jim Morrison, lead singer of the sixties rock band The Doors (if you haven’t heard of them I don’t know where you’ve been living but your existence is flat and empty) once said,
“The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.”
So what is he talking about and how does it relate to traveling, life, or karate? Let me explain…
I brought this up specifically because of a post I saw on Facebook the other day. A friend is doing quite well and moving up in the state/national karate championships. He’s up to nationals now. And his aunt posted on his status with words to the effect of “Congratulations, but we love you so don’t go too far because we want you to be around here.”
I know she was well-meaning and everything, but the basic message she was sending there was, “You should sacrifice what you want so that you can stay here with your family and make us happy, even at the expense of your own happiness.” (There’s my karate reference.)
And this kind of situation happens all the time. Family and friends aren’t trying to be malicious, but by being thoughtless and putting their own wants in front of your own, they can be very effective at sabotaging your dreams. (Jim Morrison quote.) It’s the famous guilt trip of the mother on a huge, subtle scale. It’s your family, thinking they’re doing what’s best for you when really they’re trying to do what’s best for them–all they’re doing is holding you back, making you doubt yourself, making you fear, keeping you from achieving what you have the potential to achieve. And because this “advice” is coming from people you care about, you naturally respect and value their opinions, making it even harder to look at them dispassionately to see the truth behind the words.
And to go further into this, what is an appropriate sacrifice to make for the people you care about? Would they be willing to make the same sacrifice for you? Say, for example, that you wanted to move to New Zealand, about as far away as you can get from the United States and still be on Earth. It would be pretty common for your family and friends to try to talk you out of it, or at least try to get you to come back and visit them as often as possible.
But is anyone offering to go visit you in New Zealand? Or, if they’re the ones trying to talk you out of moving, would they be willing to move as well? To go with you? Because what they are, in essence, suggesting is that you should sacrifice what you want (to move to NZ) in order that they should have what they want (for you to stay close to them.)
And if they’re not willing to go the distance for you, but expect you to do for them what they would not for you, then perhaps you should re-evaluate your relationship.
And when people give you advice about a big change you’re considering in your life, examine their motives behind the words, even (especially) if it’s your own mother speaking. In the end, you have to listen to yourself, do what you want to do, and not be swayed by people trying to change your mind. (The reference to life.)
In my not lengthy life so far, the majority of the people I’ve talked to have or have had some kind of dream to go on a big trip. But almost none of them think of this as a realistic dream–they immediately come up with excuses: work, family, commitment, money, etc etc. And these people regret not achieving their dream. (My travel reference. Title is accurate!)
So are you going to be the person who listened to everybody’s advice and stayed home and is now regretting the choices they made for other people, or are you going to be the person who takes personal responsibility for what they do and lives a rich and fulfilling life because they’ve properly recognized and made the appropriate choices to achieve their goals and dreams?