When the World’s Not Watching

When the World’s Not Watching
just be yourself

I have been in Thailand for exactly 367 days now. Lately I count them like a kid waiting on Christmas because now I’m waiting on home. When I decided to pack my life into boxes and leave them in the darkness collecting dust, my purpose was to leave home, leave church, leave my family, leave anything that had any influence over who I am or how I live. I wanted to break apart from the world I grew up in and find myself all on my own.

I recently read a book called The Four Agreements in which the author, Don Miguel Ruiz, discusses the issue of being ourselves without any influence from others. He states that from the very moment we are born, our behavior, values, everything we believe in or don’t believe in is influenced by the expectations of the world. We live our lives as who we should be, but not as who we are, so I embarked on this journey to answer a question of great importance: Who am I when the world’s not watching?

I’m not writing this post to tell you who I am, rather, I am writing to tell you what I’ve learned. The Four Agreements have had a considerable impact on how I live and think. That being said, I’ll let Mr.Ruiz explain. The following are the quotes from The Four Agreements that I have found most life-changing.

“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”

“Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”

“Also, go inside and listen to your body, because your body will never lie to you. Your mind will play tricks, but the way you feel in your heart, in your guts, is the truth.”

“We are so well trained that we are our own domesticator. We are an autodomesticated animal. We can now domesticate ourselves according to the same belief system we were given, and using the same system of punishment and reward. We punish ourselves when we don’t follow the rules according to our belief system; we reward ourselves when we are the “good boy” or “good girl”.”

“You express your own divinity by being alive and by loving yourself and others.”
― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

The truth is I think I knew who I was before I came to Thailand. What I actually learned here is to love and accept myself. I am emotional, but I used to let my emotions rule me. Now I realize that emotions are fleeting, and rather than drowning in the ocean of my own heart, it is best to allow myself to feel the waves as they come, and then let them go. This year has been hard. I have loved people, and I have lost people. As each blow hit me this year and left scars on my heart, I’ve questioned whether the universe was trying to hurt me to see how much I could take. It was selfish to think that way. Nothing that happened was about me at all. Regardless, every challenge I’ve faced this year taught me one thing: acceptance.
In 32 days, I’ll get on a plane. I’ll walk down the long hallway, strap into my seat, and stare out the window as this journey ends and another begins. I will leave this place behind, and I will return home with more than just the knowledge of who I am and the ability to love myself for just that. I’m going home with freedom.

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