You know how people always say to keep the doors open in case opportunity comes a-knockin'? I believe this 100%. People will also say things like "When one door closes, another opens." To this I say, "Hear hear!" It's always important to seek out open doors, and if they won't open of their own accord, we can feel free to do whatever it takes to open them ourselves. I believe that we should always look for the open doors in life because what lies behind them is often more wonderful and glorious than we could have imagined.
Except for when it's more beneficial and important to close the door. And by this I mean, when we're faced with a big decision, or when we're dealing with an issue in our lives, it can help immensely to close the door and go inside to feel and hear what our gut is saying. Outside the door there can be many well-meaning family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even strangers, who will offer their unsolicited advice to "help" us in our times of indecision and need. And by well-meaning I mean serving their own interests and trying to get us to do what will benefit them the most. The things that these people tend to say can usually be classified as mean, nasty, selfish, self-serving, and cruel. In those cases we have every right to close the door on them and their uninvited comments. We can shut out the noise and the hubbub and look within for the answer. Our gut always knows best, we just need to be quiet and alone enough to hear it.
In one particular situation with regard to taking the next step in a relationship, I had to make a very important decision. Everyone, and I mean everyone had an opinion about what I should do. (And in some cases, what I simply had to do or else I would never be happy. These people felt that there really wasn't a choice involved at all.) I can remember very clearly standing in my apartment, looking at the front door which led directly to the outside. The door was closed and I was alone. I sat down, closed my eyes and pictured the closed door. I then pictured what it would be like with just me, living my life, here in my apartment, without anyone else's opinions or diatribes living here with me. It felt nice. Quiet. Peaceful. Content. Then I pictured having my boyfriend here in the apartment with me. The front door is closed. No well-meaning people are giving us their opinions on what we should be doing. He's sitting next to me on the couch with his arm around me. How did I feel? Elated. Exuberant. Overwhelmingly happy, along with Quiet, Peaceful, and Content. I realized in that moment that no matter what anyone else thought of me or told me about myself, THIS WAS MY LIFE, NOT THEIRS! And it wasn't until I consciously closed the door on all of them that I was able to truly realize that.
What does your life look like when the door to the outside is closed? How do you want to be spending your time? Whom do you want in there with you, if anyone?
This "closing the door on the outside world" concept applies to any decision, be it a business venture, a creative endeavor, or a personal lifestyle choice. As Steve Jobs famously said:
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
Don't waste it living someone else's life. We all know in our hearts what we want to do, it's when we close the door on our own thoughts and feelings by putting stock to other people's opinions that we become shaky and indecisive. And who the heck are these people who are trying to influence us anyway? Do we trust their opinions? Are they worth our time to invest in what they are saying?
Truthfully, usually not. I spent time with a relative's coworker once when I was on a visit and this person did not know me nor my boyfriend (who became my husband, see above). This stranger to me had her very limited viewpoints of what was right and proper and acceptable in her world according to her terms. Anyone who strayed from those opinions was wrong and she wasted no time in telling me so. Why did she feel the need to do that? What difference did it make to her how I was living my life and who I was dating? We should have been completely inconsequential to her but she felt the overwhelming need to voice her disdain for us and our relationship. Luckily I chose not to take her comments to heart, and to this day I have no idea why she felt so strongly about putting us down. But I recently learned what happened to this woman: embroiled in a bitter divorce with 2 young kids, the second one brought about in a futile attempt to save the marriage. Her "perfect" world came crashing down around her and she got a new perspective on how things that she thought were a given actually weren't. A great example of how karma is real and doesn't discern.
All this to say, yes, by all means, go through every door that is opened to you. But don't be afraid to close the ones that are getting in your way.