What Happens Beyond Compliance?
When we are all guided to follow the same rule book, compliance becomes a huge part of our way of living. Judgment and shaming come in relation to how much we deviate from acceptable norms. We are taught that it’s a bad thing to be an embarrassment and even, feel deep embarrassment or shame. In extreme cases, in some cultures, women are still stoned to death for shaming the family.
When we are born, if we are lucky enough, someone takes care of our every need. We learn the difference between right and wrong, and how to get our way with how the people around us respond when we cry, when we have a tantrum and when we comply with their wishes. Our education accelerates as we enter social situations.
For example, a little girl named Pam was always told by her mother and grandfather that she is the most beautiful girl in the world. When she started her schooling, she went to her first day with confidence and the belief that she was loved. But soon, she found herself being called fat and ugly by the other children. The bullying was so overwhelming that she felt a huge sense of confusion, shame and resentment.
But to her mother and grandfather, she was the most beautiful girl. And it was up to Pam, throughout her lifetime, to choose who to believe. Because she is truly beautiful—inside and out.
And for the kids, this was learned behavior. Where did their conformity to a definition of beauty originate? When did the learned behavior of bullying and ridiculing become acceptable? And why, despite all the research and studies, do we keep accepting it or fighting it? Why don’t we end this needless toxic societal norm that some kid will always be bullied?
There is so much pent up anger in so many people today that gets manifested in harmful behaviors that impacts our collective and individual mental health. But fighting it just makes the fire grow. And until we get to the root cause and understand to expose all that is unhealthy, false, covert and hidden, within ourselves, and within society, this story will be told and lived on over and over. And we can’t blame social media for its existence.
Cutting the Chords
The last two years have been either unsettling for some people or a gift to a growing number of people who are breaking free of past constraints. There are people fueled by the escalating power struggles, conflicts, violence, division and rage in our external world. And then, there are people not only saying enough but making different choices.
We are walking between two worlds. Some continue to conform and comply with the mainstream way of life. But, as we talked about before, there is a growing number of people who no longer want to save, fix or reinvent the current institutions and societal norms. There is a growing urge and determination to create everything that is needed to live a meaningful life.
The next 5-8 years are when this foundation is being built, quietly and as we discussed in the beginning of 2022, this is the year of choices and each of us is facing our own decision whether we accept the status quo or trek into the unknown.
The reason why more and more people of all ages are making different choices is simple. Meaning gives us hope and hope helps us breathe in the healthy energy of possibilities.
We are currently being given an opportunity to lay the foundation for the evolution of what we find acceptable and healthy by understanding what it means for each of us without forcing compliance or needing to shame or judge anyone. It is an opportunity to heal our anger and transform it into self-love regardless of what anyone thinks of us. Because we can.
Heartbreaking events in the external world will continue to escalate and reach heightened intensity. But never lose sight that we are also facing some big endings over the next five years, which means new beginnings are also being birthed.
Do anger and rage continue to fuel us and we accept things as they are or do we love ourselves enough to take action on what no longer serves us; not by using the same tactics but finding healthy pathways that serve and unite us individually and collectively?