Dissuading Inspiration

What/Who inspires you?  Every time I see or hear that question my mind draws a complete blank.  I know what the word means, but to try to figure out what thing or person influences me to do something, or be a certain way . . . I got nothing.

I mean, I LOVE Jim Henson and the Muppets, as I’ve stated here before–they had a profound impact on my childhood–but I’m not inspired to be a Muppeteer, or to be a member of a vaudeville show.  I’m a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes stories, but I’ve no desire to sample opium, or solve crimes . . . other than those I choose to read or write down.

Maybe my trouble is that I confuse “inspire” with “emulate.”  For some reason, whenever anyone asks me the inspire question, my hackles start to rise a little bit.  I feel my inner voice say “I don’t want to try to be like anyone else.  I’m happy being myself, thank you very much!”  I prefer to let people be who they are and to blaze my own path.  So, because I have that confusion in my head, I have no answer to their question.

By the same token, I also have issues with people looking to me as an inspiration.  I’m okay with people thinking that I’m cool, or that something I do is really neat, but whenever they say “Wow, you’ve inspired me, Alyx!” I cringe a little inside.  I try my best to thank them for the compliment–because I know that’s what they think they’re doing–but part of me wants to tell them to leave me alone and go do their own thing.

The main reason that I don’t want to inspire anyone is because I feel like there’s some sort of pressure on me to continue to be inspiring.  Like, if I choose to eat healthily one day, and someone gets inspired to do the same because of that, I feel like I’d be letting them down the next time I choose to eat a burger and fries in front of them.  Or, if someone’s inspired to be nice because they think I am, what will they think if they see me cussing out some driver because I’m stressed on the road?  That just feels like way too much to live up to.

That same pressure is the reason I don’t like it when the general public looks up to actors, athletes or other celebrities as role models.  To term someone a “role model” seems akin to putting them up on a pedestal to me.  That’s not fair to them, because when they “err”–as all humans do–they fall off said pedestal, and we start to look at them differently.  Hopefully, we see the flaw as simply part of being homo sapiens, but too often you hear words of displeasure and judgement come from people who previously held said idol in such high esteem.

I know there are all sorts of people who try to inspire others to eat well, stop smoking, exercise more, etc., but sometimes those inspirational talks come across more as bossy and judgemental. And that’s something I DEFINITELY don’t want to do.  I have enough things to focus on in my life, so I have no desire (or time) to try to “help” someone live a different life than the one they’re currently living.  I have the time to listen, and offer advice IF THEY ASK FOR IT, but if they don’t ask for it, I’m not sticking my nose in.

There’s a great bit in the movie Joe Versus the Volcano that I think sums up my feelings quite nicely.

I think it’s unfortunate that the film was panned so harshly by critics, because there’s much to gain from watching this man’s journey from a schlub who just follows what everyone else does turn into his own man; someone who embraces the unknown.

Why do people need to be “inspired” anyway?  Can’t people just be okay with inspiring themselves to do something, or live the life they think is best?  Why are they looking to others to help decide that stuff?  While it’s true that we constantly learn by watching others and talking with them to find out about their experiences, can’t we just take away the lesson and leave the person out of it?

Maybe that’s what people are doing when they say they’re inspired by something someone has done.  Maybe they just say “I was inspired by such-and-such” as a way of giving credit, but don’t have any more expectations than that.  I sure hope so, because I don’t want that kind of pressure.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana Fredsti
    Jun 08, 2012 @ 09:55:16

    Other people definitely inspire me in various ways, be it by their accomplishments, their kindness, their bravery, their heart… so many different ways. But it doesn’t mean they’re not allowed to be human and make mistakes (at least not in my eyes). It doesn’t mean I want to emulate their behavior to the letter or be them or live their lives. It just means that there’s something about them or their actions which makes me want to try harder, be a better person. And that, I think, is a good thing.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jun 08, 2012 @ 10:02:16

      That’s so nice to hear, Dana. My hope is that most people are like that, & that this is just an issue I have within myself. I can definitely get over that. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by today.

      Reply

  2. Dolly Chamberlin
    Jun 08, 2012 @ 10:32:16

    People have inspired me, & I hold them responsible for nothing. If it changed my world, it’s a choice I made. They didn’t do it to impress me – they were just living their lives to the best of their abilities. Leo Buscaglia’s actions & words about the way he looked at life with love, is inspiring to me. Warm hugs, full of LOVES are great!! Wayne Dyer’s words taught me how to not let others pull my strings, or push my buttons. It does still happen from time to time, but I consider that no one else’s responsibility, only mine. I accept that what they did/said, had a significant affect in my world. If it changed my world, it was a choice I made.
    The fact that you inspired someone, does not make you responsible for them or the energies they emit. I believe that is, & always will be their sole/soul responsibility, regardless of outside, or inside stimuli.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jun 08, 2012 @ 10:41:09

      Thanks, mom. I completely feel the same way (with regards to self-responsibility), & maybe others do, too. Maybe I just have an overly-developed sense of feeling responsible for everyone else.

      Hmmm…more points to ponder. 🙂

      Reply

  3. Craig
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 09:19:52

    Wow. Thanks. Great blog on inspiration. You’ve inspired me to only inspire myself, and I only have you to thank. Keep it up! 😀

    Reply

  4. Craig
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 09:20:15

    Just kidding. I love you.

    Reply

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