In praise of self-actuation

My daughter's grades arrived yesterday (they're always fine), and I was particularly struck by one teacher's remarks.  She wanted to see my child work more out of passion and desire and less out of responsibility; to do what she WANTS to do rather than what she thinks she SHOULD do.

Now isn't that a message most of us have been trying to learn for years!  So I was amused to see yesterday's reading in Casey and Vanceburg's book, Promise of a New Day:

"Often we behave as though we were in other people's power -- as though we were bound to act in certain ways because others expected it from us without their even asking, or our ever checking.

Perhaps we have a deep need to please the authority figures in our lives because we fear we're not worth much.  Let's say, further, that our boss stays late in the office every night.  We may feel compelled to stay as long as, or longer than, the boss, out of some wish to prove our loyalty and productivity.

Most of us realize that a challenge doesn't mean we have to fight; an invitation doesn't mean we have to accept.  But sometimes, especially when it hits a sensitive or insecure area, we find ourselves blindly reacting to someone else's unreasonable actions.  We feel sucked in, manipulated, powerless.

We can depend on our own power when we trust in our innate value as humans, and we will make decisions that leave us comfortable with ourselves."

As always, the passage ends with an admonition to take to heart: "I will remember to guard myself against irrational compliance."  What a great message: don't always be looking over your shoulder, wondering what is expected of you, and don't go blindly over the cliff with the rest of the lemmings.  Have the courage of your convictions: take time to figure out what you think is the right choice, and go for it: be open to suggestion, but don't lose yourself in the response.  And speak up when you think something's not right: as the bumper sticker says, Silence is the Voice of Complicity...


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