GROSS: And do you care what people think of your personal life? Or is that just irrelevant to you?
And his answer struck a chord with me:
Mr. ALLEN: Well, you know, if I say I don't care, it sounds so cold and callous. But let me put it this way. How could you go through life, you know, taking direction from the outside world? I mean, what kind of life would you have, you know, if you were - if you made your decisions based on, you know, the outside world and not what your inner dictates told you? You would have a very inauthentic life.
What kind of life would you have if you made your decisions based on the outside world and not what your inner dictates told you? You would have a very inauthentic life.
What the outside world tells us: Pressure. The "outside world" is the culture we live in, the people who surround us. The messages in our media, in our schools, at our jobs, in our churches. What is their message? Be better. Be the best. Be normal - but stand out. But whatever you do, don't be different.
What our inner dictates tell us: Love. Feel. Think. Seek peace and truth and fulfillment in what you do. Obviously we're all going to hear slightly different messages from our "inner dictates", but ultimately, we all feel those tugs inside, wherever they're from. Nudging us this way in the direction of "living authentically".
What is an authentic life: A life where you're not lying to others, you're not lying to yourself. You're not forcing yourself to be something you are not. You're not molding to a certain form because you're expected to fit inside it. It's a life where in your quietest moments, when you're all alone, you're at peace with who you are... and you know the person everyone sees out there, is the same person inside you.
I want an authentic life. I think that's why I'm at where I am today. I'm working to get there.
I am fortunate to be a person who does not struggle so much with "what people think". I care to the normal human extent, I don't want to be a complete outcast from all society, but at the same time, I don't alter most decisions in my life because of worrying what people think of me. I know people who struggle much more with this and it's hard for me to watch.
Is it worth pleasing that group of people if you look back on those years and see only an inauthentic life? At what point can we just let go of working to please everyone and just be who we are? After all, they're probably trapped as much as we are, maybe by being ourselves we'll help free them to follow their inner dictates as well.
In the end, it really just comes down to this. Two things are certain in life:
1 You will die
2 In the meantime, you have to live with yourself