One things is for certain in life; you will face opposition and challenges from people. Whether they are from your friends, family, or strangers it’s mostly the same. Their snickering comments, narrow perspectives, “realistic” ideas. Now some of them may have some words of wisdom and may see things with understanding and acceptance, but the truth is, most people are afraid of change, whether it is within you or within their environment.

While it may be a little hard to accept, people don’t actually want what’s best for you; they don’t want you to self-actualize and grow. They’re just fooling themselves into believing that they are looking out for what’s best for you by giving their “realistic” advice.

However, there is a good way to find out if someone really cares for you or whether they are just thinking of how your actions will only affect their lives. A good friend, parent, or spouse will want you to be your best and do the things you love even if it means they have a lot to lose.

A true friend will never hold you back, even if it means they will never see you again, they’ll still want what’s best for you and want you to realize your potential, just like Chuckie from Good Will Hunting.

Cynicism and Being Jaded

Now that you know true friends from friends out of benefit, let’s move go a little deeper.

While idealism and optimism are all noble traits to have in oneself, protect it, guard it, because not everyone wants you to aspire to those ideals.

I’ll admit that I always wanted to see the good in people and trusted people I barely knew, but with enough experience and hurt, you’ll realize not everyone shares your beliefs and values. Given enough time for your idealism and romanticism about life to be crushed and ridiculed by other people, it’s hard not to be a cynic and jaded, but you have to pick yourself up from that pit of depression and see things for how it is while at the same time still aspiring to those ideals you have.

Though you may no longer fall in love, make new friends, and trust people as easily, your love and trust for people will be more grounded and mature with a better a foundation. You’ll start to see people for who they actually are rather than who you think they are.

Scorpion wants to cross a river, but he can’t swim. Goes to the frog, who can, and asks for a ride. Frog says, “If I give you a ride on my back, you’ll go and sting me.” Scorpion replies, “It would not be in my interest to sting you since as I’ll be on your back we both would drown.” Frog thinks about this logic for a while and accepts the deal. Takes the scorpion on his back. Braves the waters. Halfway over feels a burning spear in his side and realizes the scorpion has stung him after all. And as they both sink beneath the waves the frog cries out, “Why did you sting me, Mr. Scorpion, for now we both will drown?” Scorpion replies, “I can’t help it, it’s in my nature.”

Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was again stung. The other monk asked him, “Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know it’s nature is to sting?”

The two stories above hopefully illustrate my point. You can’t change other people’s nature and what they are, but you can accept that is who they are and still hope for their well being regardless. You have full control whether you want to surround yourself with scorpions and get stung, or a different environment with people of a different nature.

When you play by other people’s rules, you’ll only lose!

Each individual has their own set of beliefs and values, perhaps it was adopted from their parents, friends, teachers, or from the media, but regardless, you can’t change people’s values and beliefs as much as you try unless they themselves want to change.

How does this relate with playing by other people’s rules? Well, many people you will come across in life will want you to believe in what they believe in, for you to see things as they see it, but if those things are not in alignment with how you see your life and what you believe in, there is sure to be friction.

Societies, countries, and communities are built in such a way to favour the people in power immunity while at the same time making it harder for the peopel down below to really see beyond the surface. Although times have changed compared to hundreds of years ago, the basic principle of social hierarchy still applies.

The reason why social shame, social expectation exists is because if everyone else buys into the idea, the belief that certain things are just the way it’s supposed to be without question, because those are “the rules” then you are limiting yourself, because those rules exist to keep people in line.

So go out there and broaden your horizon. Travel, talk to people, and start to actually live!