This is your life, your journey.
Yes, you’ve been “guided” along the way and, each influence in your life has added to the shaping of who you are today.
As an infant, you were learning how to be a toddler. Each stage in life thereafter continued to prepare you for the next.
Regardless of the stage in your life, someone was guiding you, teaching you, telling you what to believe to be truth, etc.
Some people were raised in an environment that was strict, for some, abusive. On the very opposite of that spectrum, some were brought up in an environment that contained no rules, no guidance, or structure. Somewhere in the middle we find those who were safely guided in a positive direction, with boundaries, yet freedom to think for themselves.
At some point in our lives, we should pause and reflect on all that we believe and the initial source of that belief. We should evaluate what we’ve been taught and the source of that knowledge, source including from whom you were told. Reflection should also result in the acknowledgment that much of what you learned was from personal experiences and what they taught you.
I went through this process, not even intentionally. I hope to write more in depth at some point about the revelations I realized during that process. For now, I will summarize by referring to it as the “deconstruction and reconstruction of my faith.”
At 40 years old I realized:
I don’t have to do everything I’m told.
It’s okay to love yourself through each stage or season of your life, even if those on the outside looking in don’t agree.
I don’t have to be closed minded and unwilling to open my heart and mind to things that don’t line up with how I was told or taught to believe over the years.
The expectations of others don’t have to be the same expectations I put upon myself.
Forgiveness isn’t for the person who hurt you, it’s for you and your own peace.
Progress and self growth often happens through hard times, hurt, mistakes made, lessons learned, and pain.
I get to decide what I believe, how I will react to the situations life hands me, what I want out of life, who is a part of my life, etc.
This is your life, your journey. Choose to live it in a way that makes you happy, gives you a sense of purpose, and allows you to be the best version of yourself.