Surviving in a World That Tries to Make You Something Else

by Melody Jean

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is a great accomplishment. — Emerson

The world, and its people, are filled with expectations. Many are unrealistic and much doesn’t even apply to the realities that we face today. We see this in many aspects of our modern lives – business, religious, familial, friendship, government, self-development, among others.

The Ideals

Somewhere along the way ideals for all aforementioned things were developed such as:

– Centuries ago religious books were written based on stories or insights from prophetic individuals applicable to that time period to underscore teachings. We still practice them verbatim today.

– At another place in time a familial structure took shape in that we pair off by marrying and procreate to form smaller individual units. This remains a given model today.

– Later the Western business model evolved that demands all are “formally” educated in institutes of higher learning if they wish to secure a professional job. Today people struggle across the globe to perform amidst the indoctrinated classroom setting. They do so because “they have to.”

– Our government evolved to allow all to vote, even women so we have “a say” in our political affairs – domestic and international. We vote today and still practice this. Yet, there’s much debate about its efficiency.

– Later mankind encouraged the need for many friends. This will help us to continue to develop, nurture and grow. Without, we will become a recluse and not be a socially acceptable part of society.

– In more recent decades we learned that we are supposed to exercise 4 to 5 times a week for at least an hour, lift weights to strengthen muscle mass, eat less fat, reduce our carbohydrate intake, eat organic, have X servings of fruits and vegetables a day, remain a certain weight, and more. All the while we are to do so, and continue to constantly seek ways to remain stable and balanced emotionally, physically and spiritually and take care of family, friends, businesses, political responsibility and onward.

When Will the Madness Stop?

How is it even possible to glean a semblance of who we REALLY are, what would make us complete, with all of these expectations, or rules that we face every moment of every day? How can we possibly differentiate that which is necessary and those to do without? If people don’t accomplish all mentioned, many pass judgment thinking horrific thoughts about others such as:

– He or she didn’t finish college or even try to attend. Why don’t they have a professional job? It’s easy to get a college degree – they’re just lazy.

– That person didn’t vote in the election. We begged and pleaded for the right to vote and they don’t partake. It’s shameful.

– He or she is almost 40 and never married – they must be a real dismal person to date, let alone marry.

– We know what to eat, when is the best time of day to eat, the importance of portion size, what’s healthy and some. So why can’t they control themselves and lose weight?

– It’s a shame that he or she had a heart attack – they never exercised which would have helped strengthen their heart. That’s so selfish; especially if they have kids to care for.

And onward. To each of those I can do a lengthy rebuttal because I work to disarm myself of the feeling that I need to fulfill these aspects, though some I have. I’m not 100% undone from the ties that bind and is why I write this. Many don’t recognize this is transpiring and become confused, unsettled. The lucky ones realize that something is missing: they lost sight of, or never fully developed who they really were intended to be.

The Effects of Concentrating on Expectations or Falling Short

What happens when our effort is placed on pursuing these expectations instead of where we could do well? Or how does it feel when we fall short in an area or two? We often feel less-than, unfulfilled and all the while it’s because of external expectations that may or may not be correlated with who we really are, what we enjoy doing or who we were intended to actually be.

Imagine That?!

Again, what is real and what is necessary? Unfortunately mankind has gotten caught up in fulfilling rules and endless obligations developed over centuries that we forget to spend time determining who we are, what we like, and what we have to share with the world. We lose sight of our gifts, our purpose, so to speak.

To Know Thyself Amidst the Chaos: A Mental Exercise

As a mental exercise I offer you the opportunity to ask, and answer, the questions below.  If married with or without kids, or in a relationship, I encourage you to answer the questions imagining that you don’t have any relational responsibility. Only for this exercise of course. We all know you can’t forego those. Yet, what you want to be able to do is to develop your wish list; bucket list if you will, and then do that which is manageable while parenting and enabling your relationships to grow. This may help to determine who you really are; what you really like. The only way to do this is to block out that which are deemed necessary or “responsibilities” so that you can compile the pieces to formulate the Master list and go from there.

As you move through the exercise, please keep in mind which answers are associated with the expectations “rules” I mentioned. If you mention that you really want to lose weight; try to ascertain why. Is it to have more energy and enhance your health so that you can be more productive and helpful to others? Or is it to conform to societies norms of skinny-idealism? You want to try to determine what you enjoy doing most that aren’t influenced by “the rules” while answering. Below the questions you will find a wrap-up to the exercise.

(1) If alone one evening, filled with energy what would you do?

(2) If you didn’t have to work, or need money to survive, what would you do with your free time?

(3) What hobby(ies) have you always wanted to begin, but could never find the time or it may be deemed embarrassing or not appropriate for a man or woman?

(4) How would you rate your energy level? (High – Superhero; Middle – Can take-on most tasks; Low – it’s a struggle; Nonexistent – I’d rather do nothing). What would you ENJOY doing to increase your energy if necessary?

(5) What do you enjoy about physical activity, if anything?

(6) If married or in a relationship, with or without kids; what elements would you miss most if you were not blessed with these things? If you do not have one or both of those, what appeals to you about them, if anything? Is it to fulfill society’s expectation or to complete an inner hunger “to love?”

(7) What activities do you perform, or obligations do you fulfill that you think you only do so because society imposes them?

(8) If you could be paid to do something that you enjoy whether deemed worthy of a paycheck, or not, what would it be?

(9) What is your talent, or “hidden” talent. Few get paid to perform what their true talent is. What’s yours?

Wrapping it Up

Once you answer these, in a completely unbiased fashion, keep them to yourself. You may choose to share with someone, but either way, use the answers. Find time to slowly do these things. Put your answers in a safe place; reread whenever you feel lost.

You see expectations, rules and the like are part of modern society. Many of these were developed for a time and place that we no longer live. In turn the average man and woman is either not developing who they were truly intended to be or they lose that person along the way. When you “pair off” you have to compromise to a certain extent. But compromise does not mean lose yourself.

I circle back to the Emerson quote depicted above. It’s what influenced this post. I hope you take that which you need from his foresight, and perhaps the mental exercise above. Happy seeking, seekers.

–> To stay in the loop you can follow Contemporary Seeker on Facebook and Twitter.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: