“Above all to thine own self be true”

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When I was a freshman in college, I knew with certainty that I wanted to major in pre-med.  It felt so clear and right.  After all, what else was I going to do with my life, being a Jewish guy from a middle-class home whose father was a dentist?  Things were going along fine, so I thought, but I was lying to myself.  As the semester wore on, I was feeling pressure and anxiety.  I tried my best to ignore those feelings.  When friends and family asked me how my classes were going, I told them everything was fine, but I was lying to myself.  I began to question my decision and life goals. But I resisted the nagging doubts and uncomfortable feelings.  I continued to lie, unable to face the truth. I tried to convince myself that this was what I really wanted and the pain I was experiencing was the price I had to pay to achieve my goals.   I was unhappy but I lied to myself. Eventually, the pain and pressure of pushing to do something I did not want to do became too much to bear.

I clearly remember the day that I acknowledged what I was feeling and faced the truth. I admitted that I hated biology and chemistry and that I was much more excited about the philosophy class I was taking.  Facing the truth was as much liberating as it was overwhelming.  My life was suddenly going nowhere. I was facing a radically unknown future. But at the same time, I felt excited and alive. There was no turning back.

Why do we lie to ourselves?  We lie because we’re afraid of the truth.  But when we lie, we die.  When we face our truth, we live.  It’s that simple.  Are you lying to yourself about some aspect of your life: a relationship, a career choice, a moral decision, your life’s direction?  How would you know if you are lying?  Because you are not happy and not at peace.  The body never lies.  Listen to it. It will set you free.