“The choice is always yours. Whatever society may claim, they can’t control you.” —as shared in the film Enola Homes (Sherlock to his sister, Enola)
To give people choices is to give them responsibility. In said responsibility then lies opportunity. It is then up to us, those given a choice, to choose well.
Without giving the film’s entire plot away, recently released film on Netflix, Enola Holmes, contains an overt feminist message. Breaking the fourth wall from the beginning of the film to the end, Enola, played by Millie Bobby Brown, both a young and adult audience will not be confused about the intended message. This is not to say that a young audience could not have figure it out had such a direct method not been used, nor is it to assume that an adult audience would have figured it out had the indirect message been chosen. But it is to say the message is provoking much conversation between multiple generations about why certain norms existed, some still remain and others are crumbling.
TSLL’s mission statement was written ten years ago and in an excerpt contains the phrase “The simply luxurious life is . . . a truly fulfilling life instead of [one in which we are] being led around by the nose; thereby, creating a life of true contentment”. Recently, a reader expressed dislike for the phrase “being led around by the nose”; however, the choice to include it was paid careful attention and selection and will not change.
To pull back when initially having gone along with what society nudges, dictates or requires, is to cause immediate and sensational pain should something “be hooked in our nose”. The instinct is to walk forward and follow if for no other thoughtful reason than to avoid the pain and feel immediate comfort. It is a natural choice – to survive – and in this case to not cause physical pain to ourselves.
Exercising the right to choose takes away in some small, yet significant way another’s power over us, and if the one who initially retained the power is not secure in themselves to continue to live well by their own abilities, etc., such a choice is not given to another who had once been without.
To endure the unease at the very least of “not being led around by the nose” is a choice to endure temporary pain, to experience the unknown but certain struggle, yet it is the only way to discover a fulfilling life if the life you were living brought discontent and a feeling of despair that a brighter future was not possible.
However, let me also remind of the unnecessary pain when inflicted upon ourselves and yes, others when we pull away without knowing why we are pulling away. If we pull away, rebel, protest, resist, simply because “it is what others I wish to be aligned with are doing”, then we are still following to unconsciously avoid the pain from that “thing”, that enticement by society to follow – thus still being led around by the nose.
How do we ensure we are conscious and knowing in our stepping away from being led around by the nose?
First explore, do your homework, come to understand the genesis of any conflicting approaches or ways of living. Your success to arrive at the desired goal lies in knowing why you “protest” and in knowing “how” you will navigate along your own path toward your goal without causing the same pain to others who don’t agree that you once felt yourself.
However, for the purposes of today’s post and TSLL, “not being led around by the nose” reminds us to get to know ourselves, to speak truthfully and kindly to ourselves and to find the courage within ourselves to live in alignment with what we discover. Along the way we may have to experience temporary pain in order to open doors for ourselves that were not previously held open by society, but once we open the door, it will be opened for others. Our actions initially may be discombobulating to those who have known us as we were and even discombobulating to ourselves as we wade forward into an unknown, but the peace of mind striving forward will bestow upon our daily lives, each day, year and decade more deeply felt, is the reward.
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12 thoughts on “The Choice, the Struggle and the Reward”
Yes! Yes! Yes!
I find that it is not only those who wish to control us who denigrate our unpopular choices; it is also those who follow blindly and find your “going against the pack” a negative reflection on themselves.
I had questions and remarks directed to me when I decided to remain child-free. Also when I decided to keep my own name when I married. It wasn’t friends and family that had a problem with my decisions. It was always strangers. I find it far healthier to keep people like that as strangers.
Mimi, Thank you so much for sharing this truth and your experience. You are absolutely correct, and I honor your strength, as you said it well, unknowingly (or knowingly for some indeed), they may somewhere inside them wish they had had yo ur strength to choose the life they wanted and not follow the path they are on, and so they displace their anger with themselves onto to those who exemplify the strength they wish they had. Thank you so much again for your comment. Child-free or child-full, the choice is key, and the word choice you shared is powerful and empowering. When we honor that others can make different choices for their own lives, we give our own choices more strength as well. 🙂
Seeking knowledge of self is a life-long journey. For some it seems effortless and others a struggle. Where ever you fall within that spectrum it is the learning process and the experience that will define our lives. To explore, to search, and to study is a noble pursuit.
Good grief, everyone’s a critic. “Being led around by the nose” is putting it politely. When one resigns to drifting with the tides of trends, social norms, and expectations of others merely because breaking away requires work and grit, it’s rather hard to argue authenticity.
Megan, Well said Megan. Thank you. 🙂
Wise, wise words, Shannon. The truth is, some people would rather be comfortable than happy. Not just in career & lifestyle choices, but in everything up to & including political views. I’m a (retired) engineer & child-free by choice, two choices that put me at loggerheads with the societal roles I was supposed to embrace, although I did save myself from total disgrace by marrying (twice, in fact, not getting it right the first time) & becoming a half-decent homemaker & cook 🙂 Those of us who refuse to be led by our noses into decisions, situations, careers, marriages, roles, views that are not true to who we are, I have come to realize, are thorns in the side to those who prefer to stick to the safe path of the expected & non-confrontational. It’s easier to accept being led by one’s nose if there’s no one around to point out that you have the option of saying no 🙂
Susanne, thank you very much for your comment and through sharing your life journey, remind us all that there are many different paths to happy, and we can celebrate and support each other and our differences. With much gratitude. ?
Wow! I really like this one today! For the first time in my life I navigate my own ship more than I ever have before, and it feels so much better than being led around by the nose!
Thank you Shannon and others for your comments!
Tamra, Thank you for your comment and sharing where you are in your journey and your reflection upon the difference it has made in your life. 🙂
Rather than being “led by the nose” I have always followed my nose as advised by my dear mother. It takes tenacity to do your own thing and not follow the pack. I remember when we sold our very comfortable home in order to rent to make transitioning to France easier we were bombarded with critique and ‘expert’ advice on why we should not. I think that some people who have a negative opinion on your choices wish secretly that they had the courage to do much the same as you ?
Kameela, I have a strong suspicion you are right. 🙂 Thank you for sharing how you followed your own nose.