I believe that we are, for the most part, fiercely independent when it comes to choices we make, directions we go. Some have a harder time breaking away from parental or cultural influence, but even then...our souls long for their own expression. What I have found is that my own fierce independence often is overly influenced by my early childhood. Sometimes the voices of my family echo and bounce around in my head like ghosts in Scrooge's cold and dark home. There are times when these voices are good. I have, hopefully, learned from the good and the difficult experiences in my life. Other times, the messages I receive smother my own voice and keep me from taking the direction I feel is more "right" for me.
I guess the question for all of us to ask is Which map am I using as I move through each day of my life? My mentor once told me that even if I wanted to get to a place on a map, let's say New York, I could not get there if I did not know where I was starting from. And if I did not map out my own direction, I may unwittingly choose to take a road that was less suited to me. After all, the only thing that we truly own, the ONLY thing that is ours from first breath to last, is our own life. And the two most crucial traveling partners are wisdom and thoughtfulness. We all need a Jiminy Cricket on our shoulder!
So the question of whose map I use is critical to my own sense of success...and many times my measurement is very different by other people's measurement. My experience growing up was one of dogged determination mixed with "my way or the highway" mentality. The dogged part has served me well but the influence of superiority and false pride has not. It has taken me a long time to even hear those voices, let alone replace them. I have not found the stubbornness that comes from self pride to be a good road to take as I map my way through my days. I am learning to replace that stubbornness with self-confidence. There is a different feel of one to other. If I listen attentively, and check my own life's road map, I am slowly finding my way. It has been a long bumpy trip but I am willing to get on my own highway. Anyone up for a road trip?