Over thousands of years, the societies of the world have created a set of rules to be followed. Expectations for how each of us should behave and think. Most of us follow these rules without question. And those of us who choose to challenge these rules often face tremendous backlash. Society as a whole tries to force the person to conform. You can see this playing out in our society today with the current fights over racial, gender, and income inequality to just name a few. One side is choosing to say to the system that it can no longer control them. The other side is behaving in a way designed to maintain the status quo order and control. This fight exists in every layer of our society. So think about it – how is this fight playing out in your own life?
This struggle for control, I believe, is at the root of all of our unhappiness. It shows up very early in our lives when well-meaning people choose to decide what is best for us. Now, I agree, when we are children our ability to make safe decisions is limited. But children are capable of much more choice than they are often allowed. I’ll go into that more in future posts. But right now, the question I am asking you to look at is how can you be free to live your life the way you want to while at the same time getting along with the people you want to have in your life? How can you stop living your life according to society’s expectations, and start living it based on your own?
I would say the first step is to take a step back, open your eyes and ears and just notice how this battle between control and choice plays out in your own life. Listen to the way you’re spoken to and the way you speak to others. Consider how you behave in one environment versus another or in front of one person or another. Think about the situations where you feel powerful and powerless and what is the difference between the two? Awareness is the first step to any kind of change after all. It is also the first step to making changes and better choices for yourself.