Following and imitating, or rather not

A few days ago I arrived at the parking lot in the premises of the company where I work. I chose a place to park at and directed my car to the place. There was snow in the parking lot and the borders of the parking places were not quite clear but I did my best to fit in there. Yet when I stopped the car, I noticed that I was not aligned to the car in front of me so I shifted into reversed gear, reversed and then aligned my car with the one opposite me.

When I got off, I found out that my car stood quite amiss, almost between two parking places and that my first attempt at proper parking was much more successful than the one that followed because I was misled by the other car… Frankly, I don’t align my car to other parking cars each time I don’t fit in perfectly but this time I did and the result made me think.

It is quite common and many times beneficial that we follow one another’s lead, “align” our opinions to those that seem smarter or more successful, amend our thoughts according to what we see and hear. Children imitate others while growing up to learn new things and behavioural patterns. We adults learn in this way too, no doubt about that and following others and imitating them may help us. At least temporarily, I’d say.

On the other hand, many times we let others mislead us because it may be easier or seem smarter to prefer their way to what we feel, what we think, what we are unsure of, what we are afraid of, what we don’t understand. Sometimes it takes courage and a leap into the unknown to believe in what our own self tells us. And sometimes we can be misled by thoughts and behaviour that are good and appropriate for the other person, but not for us.

So when to follow others and when our own opinions, feelings and instincts when a mistake can be made so easily in either case? It’s a million dollar question, isn’t it, but the purpose of this post is not to give the one and only right answer as I believe there is no such a thing. We simply need to listen to our “voices”, get attuned to them, distinguish the important ones and learn gradually. Some people are better at this than others, but we all have the chance to improve and live in balance with who we are supposed to be to live the fullest life we can achieve. Good luck to us all!