I’m sure, at some point in your life, you’ve read Robert Frost’s “The Road not Taken.” I studied it in both middle school and high school. Then I had the pleasure of introducing it to 7th graders for five consecutive years. It is one of my favorites; always has been. Of course, I especially love the ending; “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
Maybe poetry’s not your thing. Do you listen to country music? If you do, I’m guessing you’ve heard Lauren Alaina’s song “Road Less Traveled.” Here are my favorite lines:
“You won’t make yourself a name if you follow the rules…
If you trust your rebel heart, ride into battle
Don’t be afraid, take the road less traveled”
Every time I hear this song, it makes me think of Joan of Arc. She literally rode into battle, following her heart’s desire to defend the French crown and drive the English out of France. This was bold (like ridiculously bold) for fifteenth-century Europe. That’s probably why we still know her name today.
The point? Not everyone chooses the road less traveled. Many choose to do what everyone before them has done. Because it’s easy. Because it’s what they think they should do. Because there’s less risk. Because they don’t want to disappoint someone. But they spend all of their days wishing they had taken the road less traveled, and we don’t remember their names hundreds of years on.
What if you could take the road less traveled and be completely and utterly authentic and be true to your soul’s desire? You can. But it might be hard. There will be risks. You might let someone down initially. But it will be worth it. It will be so worth it.
Here are five benefits to being authentic and true to your soul’s desire.
A note: Don’t use your choice of personal “authenticity” as a license to be rude. You, being you, authentically, should never hurt another person.
1. Less stress
I’m not saying no stress. Because, there are always stressors. But, you will no longer feel the stress that you’re faking it or that you’re going to be found out. You won’t worry about fitting in because you won’t need to anymore. Being authentic and true to yourself takes away all false pretenses.
BE YOUR OWN BOSS! Don’t stress over someone else’s deadlines and expectations! Set your own. Stress less. Live more.
That is, freedom from guilt, freedom from anxiety, and freedom from resentment. I’m sure the list could go on and on. But especially freedom from the “what-if.” There will be no “what-if” because you’ll be living in the “if.” Like, this is it. This is what it always could have been. This is what you’ve dreamed of.
3. Peace And Fulfillment
Imagine the sense of calm you could feel once all of the stress and worry fall away. Imagine the feeling of pride when you know you’ve made it to where you always wanted to be but never thought you could be. Soak it up. Bask in it. Let that feeling of peace and fulfillment wash over your soul. You deserve it.
4. Inspire Others
Others will notice the positive changes you’ve made. They will notice and they will admire you. They will notice and they will want the same for themselves. They will see your example, be filled with excitement, and they might just go for it, too! Because you first went for it. You trendsetter, you.
5. Live A Happier Life
That’s right, all of this adds up to a happier life for you! You being happy. Full of happiness. True, sincere, peaceful happiness. Real happiness; not #blessed happiness.
You know what I mean, right? I’m pretty sure we all have a “#blessed friend.” I’m talking the only-happy-on-social-media friend. The one who posts daily that she is “so #blessed to have the most incredible partner and best friend. Where would I be without my other half. I love the life we’ve built together #blessed #blessed #blessed.” But then she rolls up to girl’s night and proceeds to do nothing but bitch about her husband and her life. ALL NIGHT. And I’m not talking your average vent to your besties… I’m talking spewing life-loathing venom.
Note: if you can’t figure out who your “#blessed friend” is… it might be you.
I’m not talking about fake, for show happiness. I’m talking about the kind of happiness you can only find in reaching your goals, living the life you’ve dreamed of, deciding to shoot for the stars and actually landing among them. I’m talking about the kind of happiness you can only find by being truly, unabashedly, authentically YOU.
I wish you true happiness.