Do I have to Live a Life That Others Project on me?

Q: Dear Todd, there are distractions like the war in Ukraine or famine in a neighboring country, in my case Afghanistan, and people who are just trying to own more and more. I have a family to support and a job that I need just to survive. I understand that those are external stuff but they affect my relationships – I am becoming very distant from everybody, and my productivity at my job is suffering because of anxiety and lack of focus. 

I want to do what I think is right, which contradicts most of the concepts that in turn, hurt people around me. I have a family and kids. I sometimes feel like I need to leave all. So, my question is if it’s a temporary experience, do I have to live the life that people around me project me to do? The people around me do not want to accept the REAL REALITY (that is still to be discovered infinitely) and just go back to business as usual and It hurts me. What is it – dictating to others what to do?

TODD ANSWERS: I think a lot of people feel that way.

Ultimately, whether its war, famine, civil unrest, or even grueling away at jobs we don’t like or dealing with family pressures, it all goes back to the same cause: our inner conflict.

Yes, we have responsibilities we have to deal with. Yes, we have things we need to be aware of and prepared for. Yes, there is a great deal of suffering in the world. So the mindful thing to do would be to act without resisting what is happening, take on each task one at a time, and make every activity into a meditation.

In this way, we won’t carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Only carry this moment at this time. The more we practice this, the more we can change our lives towards what we wish them to be, with presence and clarity, and compassion, and without any discontent or hatred. With presence, each moment is just another moment, and we can accept it and then move on to the next moment. And through presence, contemplation, and reflection, all the answers will present themselves. You’ll be surprised how your little changes can change everyone around you.

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