Who doesn’t remember the Ugly Duckling story?
As I recall, there was a little feathered guy, misplaced at birth by his true mother, but quickly adopted by a loving mother duck. He grew up looking different than the other ducks in his flock for most of his young life.
He eventually reached the growth stage to reveal who he was truly meant to be—a magnificent, snowy-white, 6-foot wingspan “duck,” who could take off and fly rings around any of the other ducks. You better believe that for awhile he was king of the ducks around that pond! You bet!
Then one day, a pair of amazingly graceful, snowy-white, 6-foot wing-span, “other ducks” flew in to his pond area, and he realized that he wasn’t as unique as he once thought himself to be; but yet in another way, he was also aware that there were others more like himself and he didn’t need to feel so isolated and alone any longer.
He saw that he actually “belonged” to a different group: the “amazingly graceful, snowy-white, 6-foot wing-span ducks” group. And with that realization, he suddenly lost his sense of “specialness.” His falsely inflated ego quickly deflated, and he then felt small and ordinary. No more king of the ducks for him, so he swam off to sulk in the cattails; or as we in human form know it: Welcome to adolescence.
Is that how the story goes, or did I veer off course somewhere?
Identification with others is important for us. Feeling similar and accepted by the group enables us to blend in socially, and more readily accept ourselves for our own “me-ness” that looks a lot like “you-ness” but with a different face. That feeling of belonging where we are, along with the mutual recognition of group membership, helps us to feel comfortable in our own skin (or feathers). We might not be unique, but we are okay with it because we look and act just like the others do.
However, when we leave our adolescence back in the cattails, the importance of group identify fades as we look for ways that help us stand out from the old group—to be a viable contender for future business and professional opportunities.
That works well for us for a decade or two, and then somewhere along the road to success we might feel a spiritual dissatisfaction kick in with our present life. And it doesn’t seem to matter what material thing we are pursuing or what social rung on the success-ladder we’ve attained. If we aren’t doing what we feel that we were meant to do, we are NOT a happy duck, even if we do have a 6-foot wingspan and can honk like an 18-wheeler on a down-hill run.
Spiritual dissatisfaction can make you feel like it might be time to look for another pond, because something about the present one no longer feels calming and right to you, and you’re pretty tired of sulking over it.
So how do you decide who you really are, and what you are truly meant to do with your life?
Just as there are many paths up the mountain, there are many ways to find yourself and your true purpose for being here in whatever pond you swim. I would suggest that you spend a little quality time with yourself and dig deeply for those answers by feeling the inner peace of meditation to allow your true-self to respond to the questions that you pose, and then journal to document daily the discoveries that you make.
It matters to know what you really want from your life so that by the end of it, you don’t regret that you never really knew yourself as an awesome, free-spirited SWAN, ….and not just another big, honking duck.