“He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god. ” – Aristotle
Today I want to write about influence – influence exerted on us by others. Many times I say to myself that I am not influenced or pushed around by others. That I make my own choices. But on the other hand: Is this true?
Society. There is an endless pool of people to do the dirty work for society and a pretty efficient propaganda machine that keeps everyone nicely in line.
I see it this way that society is pushing us around as if we do not even have a free will and I believe that most people don’t even know that this is happening. Everybody expects us to follow the “rules”. If we do – everything is fine. So everyone is happy but are we happy? Are we truly happy? There is just no way around the fact that we live in this world and we are affected by it. I believe that society’s expectations are irrelevant to my happiness but this pressure society puts on us can be impossible to resist. I have a great example. My son will not be baptized. I believe it is not necessary for him – he knows his name, I know his name, the name is written in his passport and that is that. (for further clarification I have written a post On believing) 🙂 So, I am doing and trying something different; something that is “out of the norm”. Yet, the response I am getting from most people is intense and scary. It makes them uncomfortable. “How can you not get him baptized?” “What will happen later on when he wants to get married in a church?” or the best one: “Everybody else has their kids baptized!” I believe these are just typical reactions from people who cannot or do not want to think outside the box. Being different is not a bad thing. 🙂
Society has always told us who to be and especially how to be. “It always has been is this way” and unfortunately nothing has changed ever since. People just do not like it if you play and think outside the norm. This list goes on and on. You have to live in the right neighborhood, have the kids in the right school, have security and enough money on your saving account, save enough money to eventually do the trip once you retired, support the right team, vote for the right politicians, have your kid in a good kindergarten and you have to do all this for as long as you can before you end up in the nursing home. You are accepted if you play along and do what everybody else is doing. Everybody understands you and you understand them. As soon as you do something out of the norm you have got a problem. But what is the “norm”? What is normal?
Are people addicted to status? Many people constantly measure themselves against everybody else and how everybody else is doing. The problem is that the system we live in tells us how we can be happy. All we have to do is buy X, Y and Z and if we only buy enough of this stuff then it will be great. And the only intent here is to sell us more stuff. The media plays a huge role here. They tell us who is important and who is not. They tell us who our role models are and what the latest fashion is. Also which face cream to use against wrinkles. We are literally bombarded with advertisements. Looking into the mailbox every day and seeing all the advertisement that tells us what to buy and to do to be happy is proof enough.
If you use an old phone and not a “smart” phone people look at you weird. If you do not use whatsapp – holy shit! How could you not!!!!??? You wear vintage clothing, or do not care about the latest fashion (Hello, Germany’s next Top Model crap) people look at you weird. People, society! Even if you eat differently; if you try new things, vegan, raw, whatever – people judge you based on what? Some criteria that they have adopted from someone who has adopted it and they all believe their opinion is right.
So I have been talking about this a lot recently with my husband and came to the conclusion that this constant pressure people create for themselves makes them stop from doing what they really want to do. Holding back because of this constant worrying what people might think. We are the perfect example. The way we live, people just cannot understand how it all works. But it is fine. We are fine. 😀 Always keep in mind you only live once. You only have one shot on life. So why being scared of change? This being said: Nobody needs to worry about me or my family. Ha!
Many are afraid to change their life so they criticize others. And they keep buying new cars, more toys, more stuff, to just be happy. But are they? Of course there are people in this society who are happy with their life, exactly the way it is. Good for them. I am just talking about the ones who are miserable, keep on doing the same thing over and over every single day (expecting different result) but the things that could change their life for the better they are too afraid to do.
I believe that when people judge me and my lifestyle – they just have their own issues and problems. Everybody does. I usually know their weaknesses because I know mine. We are all only humans. It is not always easy when people put pressure on me this way. But I do keep in mind that they are just scared of not fitting in the system or maybe not fitting in as I am. Anything that is out of the norm makes people uncomfortable because I guess I am highlighting something that they are afraid of or do not want to think about.
I am working on this pleasing others/opinions stuff’/and living a different life for a while now. I know now that opinions do not matter when they are holding me back from what I really want to do, especially if they are pulling me down. I just do not let society tell me what to do and what is “normal”.
There is this awesome quote I remember: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those you matter don’t mind. “