The Path to Understanding

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you
something else is the greatest accomplishment
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we’re all trying to figure out how to transform ourselves into our best selves, one of the biggest challenges is trying to explain your choices to others who may not understand your personal journey.

Growing up in a more alternative family, I’m used to people questioning my lifestyle. I was born at home, my parents opted out of immunizing us, and we were vegetarian; all things that the kids at school didn’t quite understand. As an adult, these things haven’t changed and I am still constantly questioned about my choices: how do you get enough protein without eating animals? Aren’t you worried about getting measles? You were born in your parents’ bedroom?!

i simply am quoteAll of these are fair questions but it has taken me a while to find the appropriate way to respond to them. It is so easy to become defensive or to feel like you have to convince people that your way of life isn’t wrong. I’ve even encountered people who have felt like my choices were, in some way, suggesting that their ways of life were wrong, which, of course, is not the case. We are all on our own personal journey and what is right for me may not be right for you, and I’m okay with that.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that worrying about the opinions of others just isn’t worth it. Instead of feeling like I’m trying to win an argument or justify my decisions, when questioned, I simply reply that I’m doing what is right for my personal body, mind, and soul, simple as that!

I think it is important to acknowledge that we’re all trying to find our way through this journey called life and it is so easy to get discouraged or to question oneself along the way. I’ve been putting a lot of thought and energy into trying to become my own best self and I know it’s not an easy task. The most important thing I’ve learned is that there will be setbacks and obstacles that may lead you astray, but there is always a way back.

Simply taking the initiative to improve oneself is a huge step in and of itself. Even if you get discouraged, just know that you’re on your way to great things and all of your hard work will pay off. As you become more comfortable with yourself and your choices, that positive, accepting energy will radiate from your being and it will allow others around you to become more comfortable with themselves and their choices too.

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About Claire Chartrand

Claire Chartrand is a freelance writer from Milwaukee, WI. As a recent graduate of UW-Milwaukee's School of Journalism, she writes about popular culture, music, and current events. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

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