My life doesn’t belong to other & I am not here on Earth to live up to someone else’s expectations

It often takes courage to honor what we want and to fight for it. For many people, self-surrender and self-sacrifice are far easier. They don’t require the integrity and responsibility that intelligent selfishness requires.

A man of forty-eight who has worked hard for many years to support his wife and three children dreams of quitting his demanding and stressful job when he turns fifty and taking a job that will earn less money but that will afford him some of the leisure he has never permitted himself.

He had always wanted more time to read, travel, and think, without the pressure of feeling he was neglecting some urgent matter at work.

When he announces his intention at a family dinner, everyone becomes agitated and has only a single concern: How will each one’s standard of living be affected if he takes a job that pays less money.

No one shows interest in his context, needs, or feelings.

“How can I stand against my family?” he asks himself.

“Isn’t a man’s first duty to be a good provider?”

He wants his family to think he is a good man, & if the price is to relinquish his own yearnings, he is willing to pay it. He doesn’t even have to reflect about it.

The habit of duty has been ingrained across a lifetime.

In the space of one dinner conversation, he steps across a threshold into the beginning of old age. As a sip to the pain he can’t entirely bury, he tells himself, “At least I am not selfish. Selfishness is evil — isn’t it?”

The sad irony is when people cease to honor or even attend to their deepest needs and wants, they sometimes become selfish not in the noble but in the petty sense, grasping at trivia after they have surrendered their deeper yearnings, rarely even knowing what they have betrayed and given up.