If something makes you happy do it, don’t crave for social acceptance. The time you spend trying to make others happy, if you invest on what makes you come alive, you will find your Life having more meaning than it has just now.
Last evening I watched Bombay Talkies (a 2013 anthology featuring films by four directors) one more time. The opening film Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh by Karan Johar tells the story of a man Dev who discovers that his entire Life has been a lie – he is gay but he doesn’t want to admit it.
The 30-min short ends on a moralistic note – jhoot bolna buri baat hai; “It is wrong to lie”. This may sound like a clichéd, lofty message. But it is important, every once in a while, to pause and ask yourself if you are living your Life the way you want to? Or are you living your Life to please others? Simply, to put it bluntly, is your Life a lie that you are trying to hide from?
Interestingly, I don’t believe there’s anyone out there who does not know what they want from Life. I think people have a fairly clear idea. Yet people don’t want to go do what they want to because they are keen to secure social approval. Recently, a young friend said he doesn’t believe, at a deeply personal level, that securing “likes” on Facebook matters to him but he wonders if those “likes” are a sign of his social stature – of acceptance, of popularity. I feel my friend has answered his own question – as long as something doesn’t matter to him, why should he worry about gaining social acceptance? The same logic applies to each of us in all contexts of Life.
The key to intelligent living is to simplify Life. Be true to yourself. Do what gives you joy. Trying to work for social approval will only make you feel miserable over time – because no one can live (with) a lie for too long.