Your mileage may vary. The twists and turns and obstacles and successes and failures we endure as we walk our paths may be similar, but will not be the same.

No one but me is inside my own head. I’m all alone in here, and I am in control of this body, I am in control of the choices available to me. When all is said and done I am empowered to do good or bad, be happy or discontent, to discover and walk a given path.

I often write here about issues with outside influences. There are people along the way who more often than not unintentionally provide obstructions along your path. They have their own opinions, they have their own ways and paths different from yours and mine.

The thing about outside influences is that sometimes they are good for you. While the ability to gain knowledge inside my own head is infinite, there is only a limited amount of information I have. There is always room to learn something new, to discover something more. To do so is not necessarily a singular matter, often it requires gleaning information from outside influences.

As with everything Pathwalking, this is about choice. When I encounter an outside influence do I choose to let it effect me, or am I better off ignoring it? Is this influencer for better or worse? Does the outside influence serve my paths?

Let me present you with a very personal example of this. I am getting married in a couple of months. There are certain parties who have rather strong opinions about just how my bride-to-be and I are planning out our ceremony and our many non-traditional elements. Certain outside influences feel that our choices of attendants and even choice of theme are not well thought-out, and could cause hurt in others.

We want a small ceremony, and while we are taking certain elements of our upbringings into this, we are invoking no religion. We are having a family-style dinner following the ceremony, no reception, no dancing, and that’s it. This is what we both want, and this is what we have chosen.

If the outside influences had their way, we’d have at least another twenty-five to thirty people to invite, we’d have probably another couple attendants, and we’d be paying more direct homage to the religious elements that have more dominance in our families. Rather than choosing our desired path, we’d be letting the outside influences choose it for us.

In this instance, there is one other influence that is outside of myself but that has been empowered to effect choices in this particular manner. That of course is my fiancé, since this is about us both as individuals and as a couple. This does, however, provide the perfect segue way into probably the most important element of how this relates to Pathwalking:

You may be alone inside your head, but that is not a bad thing. It is good to have companions, friends, lovers, family, acquaintances, coworkers – but no one but you can choose your own path, and validate your own existence.

I know a lot of people who do not do well ‘alone’. They constantly need to have companionship, they talk about feeling ‘incomplete’ or ‘lacking’ if they are not in a relationship or constantly surrounded by others. I used to feel that way myself, and in fact have recently discovered (as previously discussed the last few weeks) that my fear of loss has massively influenced my ability to succeed or fail.

Let’s face facts – human beings are social animals. We need interactions with others, we need contact, we need validation – specifically validation that we are recognized as existing, such as “Oh look, there you are”. What we need to know, what I need to remember, is that we have to each individually validate ourselves, evaluate ourselves, and make and accept our own choices for the lives we want to live.

I may be alone inside my head, but that means that I can have conversations with myself in order to ask the necessary questions about who I am and who I want to be in order to choose and walk my own path. As I stated last week, I need to ask myself daily – what is it I need to do today so that ultimately I will feel happy? I need to additionally remember that today’s answer may differ from tomorrow’s. Still the question needs to be asked, because the answer will let me change my focus so that any intangible fears can be eliminated and replaced instead by opportunities. I should also add here that I can determine what outside influences, if any, I can and should seek to help me achieve my goals.

Because my mileage varies from yours, even if our ultimate goals are similar, the paths cannot and will not be. But you can take my examples and my ideas for the mechanics of Pathwalking and use them in your own path. Or not. I am an outside influence except within my own head. I am working on my own Path, but I share that work with you because I think the how of my process can be useful to not just me alone. Sharing these notions are part of the path I am walking.

What influences do you take, and which do you ignore?

 

This is the one-hundred sixty-seventh entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my personal desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Feel free to re-blog and share.  Thank you for joining me.

The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available in print and for your Kindle.