Monday, July 25, 2011

Sharing Your Path

Each of us follows a path, several paths, really. We all follow our own path when it comes to our beliefs: spiritual, moral, economical, kink, what products we buy – every aspect of our life. Typically, we wish to share our path with others, some religious communities require it. There are several ways you can share your path/beliefs/brand-loyalty/way-of-doing-things, in this post I will share with you how I choose to share. You don't have to follow it, but I hope you'll at least listen to my methods, and hopefully see some wisdom in them.

Very rarely will I go out of my way to share how/why I do/believe. I simply am. I simply do. I live my path and share by example. I may post what I do here on my blog, but I force no one to read it. You will never find me going door to door to tell people how I live my life, or how they should live theirs. If someone asks me about how or why I do something, or they ask my opinion, I will share it with them gladly.

Sharing by example is not difficult, but there are some important requirements. First and foremost, you must be honest, especially with yourself. If you are not following the path you wish to share, you can not expect other to see it. If your path does not enrich and/or improve your life, you can not expect others to see how it could enrich and/or improve theirs. In essence, if you do not believe in a path enough to follow it yourself, you can not expect others to follow it.

If what you believe is truly bettering your life materially, emotionally, spiritually, or physically then others will take notice. When they are ready, they will ask you about some aspect of your path; listen to what they are asking about, find out which path/what aspect they are curious about, and then talk to them about what you are doing and why. Why is the most important part. People are resourceful, if they can understand they why, they can figure out the how.

People are complex, and, as I stated near the beginning, we all follow many paths that twine together for us. We see how they interweave, and that pattern is unique to us (more so than our fingerprints); other people are not us — the can not follow our exact path, nor would they wish to. When someone asks you about one of your paths, one of the threads that weave your path, talk to them about it. Where it touches your other paths, you may mention it if it seems appropriate, but do not use the path they asked about as a segue to a path you wish to share. This will turn some people away from both paths. At the same time, though, do not hide the other path either, as it is important to you, and a part of your overall path. Just mention it as it comes up and move on with the original discussion. If they are curious about it, now, or later, they will ask — that would be the appropriate time to talk about it.

Tying those points together, part of being honest is not hiding who you are. You do not have to broadcast it, but you do not need to hide it either. By following this principle, most (sadly, not all) people will judge you by who, and not what, you are. If you announce and define yourself by what you are, that is how most people will perceive you. While in some cases limiting how others perceive you may be a good idea, it is a deception (though mild) and will not help people to see your path in the way that you do.

If you think people should grow a garden: grow a garden. If you think people should buy a product: buy it and use it yourself. If you think people would benefit from your spiritual belief system: live it, and let people come to you. If you think someone else should not be doing something: unless it physically endangers them or someone else, leave them be and demonstrate your alternative; if they see your way and it appeals to them, they will come to you.

A common saying is Practice what you Preach. I say practice what you believe, and drop the preaching. If someone want to know what you do, they can ask you about it, they can look on your blog, or they can just stay curious — but leave the choice to them.

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