Setting Lambs Free

tumblr_nq9wtq53s21sym2bco1_500

I have spent a lot of time examining my belief systems and how and if they have benefited me. I have also seriously considered how and if they have damaged me. Sadly, for the most part, I have to side with the latter.

I have strong clear memories of the many times I was instructed not to do things because it was not what other people were doing. I am not speaking about setting fire to the family dog kind of things, but rather things that were expressions of who I was and harmed no-one like wanting to wear my green pants with an orange top.  The only damage those types of things caused was to my family and their desire to fit in and to appear as “normal” as possible. Success was measured by how well you could do what everyone else was doing, as long as you did it in the same way everyone else was doing it. Life was one big chorus line where, to be perfect, you danced in sync with everyone else and never, ever, drew attention to yourself. I was to be assimilated, to be part of the whole and not an individual.

This, they assured me, was the path to true happiness.

It wasn’t.  It never was and never will be.

The problem with trying to fit in and not being yourself is that you end up with people in your life who can and will destroy you. If I had just been myself there would not have been any ambiguity regarding our compatibility. Those people would have walked a wide circle around me and I would have been better off for it.  Instead of spending so much time in complete pain, destroyed by the many unkindnesses from people who were never going to understand me, I might have found people who were actually capable of loving “me.”

Not because those people are bad people, or I am some precious snowflake, but because we both deserved the kind of love and friendship that actually was intended for our lives.  Instead, we were all forced into a game of engaging one another simply because we paid the admittance price and once paid, everyone gets a ride. Continue reading

“The whole drift of our law is toward the absolute prohibition of all ideas that diverge in the slightest form from the accepted platitudes, and behind that drift of law there is a far more potent force of growing custom, and under that custom there is a natural philosophy which erects conformity into the noblest of virtues and the free functioning of personality into a capital crime against society.”  H. L. Mencken 

How We View The World Around Us.

Capture

see the rest of this thought provoking post here:

             This just changed the way we see Beauty and the Beast. Mind blown.

I read this today and have to comment on it.

We are currently focused on bullying in social media and discussion about what is being done, what can be done, is typical of many of our approaches to our problems – we are talking band-aids – what kind and when to apply.  It isn’t easy to have to stop and take time to figure out actual causes – because knowing the cause requires much harder, long term work, than simply applying an effective, temporary band-aid.

Lots of discussion on loneliness lately as well.  We are now realizing the damage that prolonged loneliness can cause a human being.  At least we are waking up to the fact life is not just about the physical, immediate, identifiable, measurable situations that impact us.

Businesses spend a small fortune sending their employee’s to all kinds of courses meant to amplify their self esteem and pump them full of bravado about who they are and what they are capable of.  Yet, when they return from these courses, full of ideas and attempting to change and grow, the reaction of the office is usually one of “who the hell does he think he is?”

We don’t like people who are different, who think differently, look different, act different . . . and we especially do not like those people who are different and who feel good about themselves.

Those are the people most often targeted.

And they are attacked not with their own insecurities, but the insecurities of the people doing the attacking.  Weight may not be a remote concern for someone – not for them in terms of appearance, or for their doctor in terms of health – and yet the bullies will accuse that person of being “fat.”  People called “ugly” seldom are.  People called “sluts” or “stupid” seldom could be found guilty of either charge.

These marginalized people who are attacked by others have to be beyond strong to be able to carry on with their lives and believe in themselves when the whole world appears to conspire against them.  But they don’t have super powers and even the strongest person can be pushed to the point of wanting to just give up.

Giving up is not only about those who may choose to end their lives, although some do.  It is also about checking out of reality with drugs and alcohol and other addictions.  It is about surrendering and conforming to what is acceptable to the masses.  It is about bleeding out through your entire life, every last ounce of your own unique life force until you are a hollow empty shell that is lonelier than anyone will ever know . . . but at least you are no longer attracting the anger of the mob who wants to destroy you.

All around us are people in various stages of giving up.

So we go back to the real solution. I look around me.  My children are grown but there are still ways I can encourage them to be themselves.  I can do that by letting go of my expectations of who they should be and what they should be doing with their lives.  I can let go of my need to tell them the better way to do things and be more supportive of their own efforts.  I can let go of ever labeling them “right” or “wrong” or “good” or “bad.”  I can make the fact I have told them for their entire lives that my love is “unconditional,” actually mean something.

I have grandchildren that I can have a bigger influence on, and encourage their parents not to be so quick to insist they be like every other child.  To that end I say to hell with all the charts and books that tell us what “normal” is.  Your child.   Here and now.  Work with them.  Work with who they are and help them find a way to hold on to that and negotiate the things they need to learn.  Parents need to trust their instincts and to teach their children to develop and trust theirs.

I have people around me that I interact with all the time.  How do I contribute to their lives and support their efforts to interpret life in their own unique way?  How do I unwittingly contribute to any sense of judging or diminishing them?  Stop it.

I can speak up.  I can work to not be so closed minded about how I think things should look like or be.  My experience may hold clues that, contributed to a conversations, can aid the process of finding answers, but I can be more open to other ideas that are from the experiences of others.

I can find the courage to be me, even though it is painfully difficult.  No more compromises.  Perhaps it is too late for me to reap any of the rewards, but if it makes the way for the next person even a tiny bit easier, then it will be worth it.

WE are society.  And it is our thinking that is at fault.  Because we begin from a faulty thought process, our actions are off.

Our thinking is at fault because we have bought into beliefs and ideas that are not ours by choice, but those given to us by our parents and our upbringing.  We accept them without question and we transition from childhood to adulthood with all those things neatly wired into our beings.  Our perceptions.  We are part of a “way of thinking” that is reflected in how we then interpret the world and what we engage in and produce.  The world reflects back to us what we think.

We can change that reflection by changing our thinking.

What people have forgotten is who they are.  Who they were before the world told them who they should be.  Letting go of what we think we know is not as scary as it may seem because rediscovering our own hearts and giving permission to ourselves to be who we really are brings both joy and peace.

The more of us who have the courage to do that, the more others will feel encouraged to do the same and perhaps one day we will talk in terms, not of “blaming” society for the mess we are in, but “thanking” society for saving us.

Either way, we will be responsible.

Today’s Food For Thought

conformity

One of the things that most delights me about my grandchildren is their unique abilities that makes each and every one of them so awesome.  To watch them grow up with those differences intact, with clear ideas of who they are and what they want makes me incredibly hopeful.

I like people who are incredibly different, who insist on doing things their way and are unapologetically themselves no matter what.  Give me a room of beautiful clones and I will choose the stuffed dummy in the corner every time. Continue reading