“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” ~Henry David Thoreau
Every now and then, I get an email from someone telling me I should attend or speak at some conference that attracts lots of passionate bloggers, or inspiring people interested in personal development.
A part of me always feels a little conflicted when I receive an invitation or suggestion regarding an event like this, because I think I should want to go, but I just plain don’t.
I’m an introvert, and I don’t love big crowds, which makes a conference environment far from appealing.
I also don’t enjoy sitting for great lengths of time, watching back-to-back presentations. As someone whose work requires me to spend a great deal alone, caught up in my head, I prefer to spend my off time engaging with the world and being active.
Lastly, I feel a need to create some balance between my spiritual/personal growth inclinations and the part of my life that has nothing to do with blogging or self-discovery.
That means I’d far rather spend three off-days hiking or exploring a new city than attending some type of conference, workshop, or seminar.
So why do I find myself questioning my instincts, and trying to change my own mind?
I do it because I think I should want to be involved in those events—because other people do, because this is my field (and there’s a lot of money to be made in speaking), and because I fear I may be somehow missing out.
Ultimately, I end up creating mental drama just to avoid standing by my own convictions, and accepting there’s nothing wrong with them. Ironically, I end up missing out on what I actually want to do when I worry about what I might be missing by not doing something else.
I suspect this is something a lot of us do—push ourselves to do things we don’t find appealing because we think we should. I understand that sometimes we need to do things we don’t enjoy, if they’re part of a larger process we’re committed to.
But when it comes to the big decisions about where we’re going professionally, or how we spend our time, we owe it to ourselves to recognize what we genuinely don’t want.
Every time we act against our own instincts, we reinforce to ourselves that there’s something wrong with them—and there isn’t. There are no right or wrong choices when it comes to how we want to spend our time.
There’s just what’s right for you, what’s right for me, and the possibility of us each experiencing true joy by identifying and honoring those things.
My “right” path may look nothing like yours, and both are completely valid.
With this in mind, I’m now finally ready to acknowledge and respect my own interests and preferences:
Hi! My name is Lori, and I strongly dislike conferences, workshops, seminars, and all other events of the sort.
I think I’ll stop questioning that now, and allow myself to be drawn to what genuinely feels right.
Is there something you’ve been pressuring yourself to want or like that you just plain don’t?
Photo by SarahC73