In my last two posts, I talked about how we become the person that we are today.
The main point of those two previous posts is to point out, in a general way how you have become the person you are today. However, it might quite legitimately be asked of me, “What can I do with this information; of what use is it?” or “Why would I want to know this?”
Before going further, I would like to address both of these questions.
Of what use is the information that I have been “conditioned” to believe certain things and to behave in certain ways?
All that conditioning plays into your daily thoughts, emotions, actions and even into your mental and physical condition. A child who has been told that s/he can’t sing by an irate parent might grow up believing that they will never be any good at singing, at best, and, at worst, might feel insecure and anxious even at the thought of singing, or even speaking in front of even a small group of people. A person who is told at almost any age that s/he is useless or stupid might go on believing, for a very long time, that s/he has no valuable worth to anyone in any situation.
But, that’s not all. You are, in many ways, told by others what sports team/s you should like, what political parties are the “good” ones, what types of people you should stay away from and who your friends should be. You are also told what is good or bad, what is ugly or beautiful as well as how to conduct yourself in many situations.
The process is so complex and it affects how you view your world, today and in the future. Not only that but because we all have different experiences with any or all of the people and institutions who influence us as we grow we all view the world differently.
This means that no other person on the planet views the world exactly as you do. Today there are 7.7 billion people on the planet and that amounts to 7.7 billion (and counting) different “personal realities”. Even so-called “like-minded people” do not hold the exact same viewpoint as you do, concerning almost anything. As a very extreme example, even if you and your siblings were to be kept secluded from the world so that the only people you ever got to interact with were your family, you would all have varied views of “reality”.
And yet, we live as though everyone around us views the world in exactly the same way.
Don’t get me wrong, and I may have mentioned this before, all of this conditioning is done by a society which has been subject to the exact same “socialisation process” and they pass it all on to you quite innocently, for the most part.
The point, (and quite possibly the problem), with all of this, is that your sense of “identity” may not match up with who you feel you are, or who you “ought to be”.
When you become aware of how society operates to condition you into believing certain things and behaving in certain ways, you can begin the process of rethinking your outlook and re-evaluating your beliefs, not only about the world around you but, more importantly, about your “inner world”.
Why would I want to know about this programming?
No one is born unhappy. No one is born with low self-esteem. Not a single person is born with an emotional or mental disorder. There may be certain circumstances under which many people might be more prone to such “ailments”, but just watch any child at play and you will almost invariably see a happy child, regardless of who their parents are.
Young children are free-thinking, their imagination is on fire and they have many, many ways of expressing themselves. As we grow, most of that “freedom” is taken away from us and we forget who we truly are. It’s true that you can develop your own interests and pursue your own passion/s, but, for the most part, unless you have been fortunate enough to have had a loving and caring adult who was capable of nurturing and encouraging you in your personal interests and pursuits, you will almost invariably have lost a true sense of your own individuality, or identity.
This causes unhappiness and a loss of any sense of true independence because then you begin to look to others for validation and acceptance. You will begin to rely on others for your sense of worth and you will become insecure and miserable. If this continues you will begin to see doctors and therapists who have no real answers because they are trained to take you into your past to see if they can find the root cause of your depression or whatever other “diagnosis” has been bestowed upon you and not much more. Doctors, for example spend very little time studying mental illness/health in their 7-year-long study programme.
So, it is useful to know about how we are all conditioned by society because with that knowledge, you can begin to look for ways to rediscover your true individuality and reclaim your innate psychological and emotional health and personal freedom. If you are unhappy, depressed or just dispirited it helps to begin asking questions about what may or may not be causing you to feel that way.