What Is Destiny?
People have always lauded me for my transparency and authenticity. It probably seems like searching intensely for ultimate truth is my destiny. But I feel like I just realized at any early age that I’m terrible at hiding my emotions, and terrible at acting like something I know is true isn’t true. I cannot hide the truth.
When I was a kid, any time I would feel terrible and attempt to disguise it I’d end up being chastised by someone for being a jerk, or a close friend would see right through me and call me out.
I think eventually I just gave up, decided I wasn’t even going to try. This was no more a courageous decision about being authentic any more than shaving my head was a courageous decision about being bald. In that case, the writing was on the wall. I had already started losing my hair. So I took action that got me to the destination of being bald as a way to skip the painful process of going bald. The same was true with being honest. I couldn’t hide my feelings and opinions, so I just quit trying.
At some point pretty early on, people started applauding me for being honest and transparent and authentic. Of course most of us will take any affirmation we can get, and it was pretty obvious that this was my avenue for being unique and getting noticed. Pair this with a growing chip on my shoulder and an affinity for words, and this “honest” thing must have seemed like a pretty good gig.
Please don’t be mad. If I’m going to be that honest person, I probably need to be honest about being honest, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Could it be that what seems from one perspective to be “destiny” is, from another perspective, just giving in to reality?
I wonder if anybody is the way they are, good or bad, without it being due — in some way — to the discovery that being a certain way was always how they were best able to be accepted on some level by someone.
Maybe that’s what “destiny” really is: finding those ways we are accepted and affirmed, and embracing them. Could that be?
Is Destiny Formed By Your Weaknesses as Well as Your Strengths?
I’m honest because of a deep aversion, an inner and absolute intolerance for, anything less than the real truth. Again, this has led me to many good things in my life, but it has also been a constant burden. I’m not a diplomat or a schmoozer. I can’t curry favor with people simply because it might help me advance a certain cause I care about, or make them like me more, or even keep them from ridiculing or eventually killing me. I simply lack the capacity. As I said above, the truth about what I really think and feel shows on my face.
This occurred to me the other day with striking clarity. I had this vision where I’m tied to a stake and someone is about to burn me alive because I made them angry about something, but whatever I said, I know to be absolute truth. If I will renounce this truth, they will untie me and let me go. I watch myself trying to muster what is required to make this grand renouncement. I look at the wood stacked around me and know what I am in for if I don’t. Then I raise my head and open my mouth to speak. I do, in fact, make the renouncement, only I cannot keep my eyes from rolling in that moment, as it seems so juvenile and ridiculous to have to pretend as if something I know is true is not true just because someone else doesn’t like it. The eye-roll, of course, gives me away, and the fire is started.
In the final analysis, my “dying for truth,” then, really would be nothing heroic. It would actually be stupid, since I could go free if I simply said what an idiot wanted to hear. So I would be dying less for truth itself and more because of my own lack of capacity to be false, even when it would be enormously to my advantage to be so.
My loyalty to truth, then, is loyalty to my own being, my own person, and inability to deny my own being and person. It is easy for me, at times, to be self-righteous about this, wondering why others are not as sold out to truth as I am and are willing to compromise truth to save their own skin or even to gain some small advantage. But why do I think this way? I myself am loyal to truth not out of heroism, but because I lack the capacity to be otherwise. If I had that capacity I suspect I would be as disloyal to the truth as anyone.
Is this destiny? Finding out what it means to be loyal to ourselves and how we are made, and then just living into that as intentionally as possible?
Yet maybe in the final analysis my lack of that capacity is a virtue. I know that since embracing this inability and committing to it, I have cultivated a deeper and deeper commitment to truth and have been less interested in cultivating its opposite. That’s good, right?
Surely my destiny, and yours, embraces all we are not, as well as all we are.
Is Your Destiny “Inevitable?” — Why I Hope Not
I am the way I am because I found and acknowledged the path on which I was already walking anyway and just decided to embrace it because it seemed inevitable. Is it possible that people who habitually do evil had a moment where they realized they were a certain way and embraced it because it seemed inevitable? If so, that’s no excuse for being evil, but it sure helps me understand it in a better context.
I know I have read where serial killers say they had moments where they sensed that they had a destiny, that killing — for them — was in some way inevitable, because they simply lacked the capacity to not do it.
What does this mean? Was I somehow “destined” to be the way I am? Are deeply evil people destined to be the way they are? How do our own choices play into who we become? I live with the notion that I have largely chosen my own character, and I hope my own choices have played a role, but I wonder if most of us over-estimate the role of choice in who we become. I imagine the inner capacities we lack may play a greater part in who we end up being than the capacities we possess. I’ve never felt like it’s worth the trouble to cultivate the ability to not tell the truth, but it’s probably important for a person to cultivate the ability to resist killing.
Who are you?
How did you get that way?
How much have your own choices made you who you are, and do you see any ways that you might be different if you were able to choose to be so?
Based on your life experiences, what is your destiny?
How much role will you play in actively shaping that destiny?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.