So I’ve taken a break on this blog for a little while. An existential crisis reared its head. I get those from time to time. I began to wonder if this whole self-care, change the universe one person at a time thing was worthwhile or realistic. Who knows? Maybe. I think so, but I don’t know.
My existential crisis, though, got me to thinking. Mindfulness and being kind, loving and compassionate are my ultimate goal here. But I think to get to that point, to really have peace of mind, we have to start thinking differently.
That’s the conclusion I’ve come to. Our old ways of operating aren’t working for this society any more. As a result, it’s having a greater impact on our physical and mental health.
The truth is that no one knows anything about anything, but they are quick to tell us how we should behave. We’ve been told a lot about life. We’ve accepted things forced on us by society. By religion. By political parties. By family and friends.
You should be married with kids and love your job and have great hobbies.
We read a bunch of self-help books. One tells you to fake it until you make it, while another says only be your authentic self.
But these soothsayers are telling you what works for them or a few people they’ve worked with. But, ultimately, we have to find our own truth. Our own happiness. Our own whatever it is we’re seeking. And we define that. Or we should. But right now, most of us don’t. We look for answers somewhere else.
My existential crisis was focused on being more, doing more. Deciding what I want out of life. But that’s part of the problem with our society. There’s all this pressure to “do” in some form or fashion. To be noticed. To excel. To produce. To be successful. To be something.
What do I want out of life? I want to be happy.
But you can’t just be happy.
Why not? Why can’t I just be happy?
Well, what is it that you do that makes you happy?
You know what makes me happy? Sitting on my sofa staring out my french doors at the evening sky. No television. No radio. Just me and the night sky. I’m good with that. Or, when I had a pet, rubbing the little pink pads of his feet until he stretched out his claws. That made me happy. Still makes me happy just to think about it.
But you have to do something to be happy. A job. A career. A hobby.
No, I don’t. I really don’t.
The pressure to perform in our society is ridiculously stupid. I’m lazy. In fact, I excel at being lazy. And as long as being lazy makes me happy and doesn’t impact my health, then that should be OK. But it’s not for most people. I should want to be more. Be pro-active. Be social. Go out more and do meaningless stuff.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying simple things or with being humble and low key. We say we should be this way, but when you actually tell someone that’s what you want out of life … well, then you’re wrong. Or there’s something wrong with you. You must be depressed or anxious or something.
No. None of those things apply here. But it’s not the norm. It’s not what people expect of you based on our culture and society, so it’s unacceptable. And therefore it starts to have a negative impact on you.
I quit a job a few years back without another job lined up. People thought I was crazy. Eh, maybe I was. But it was the right choice for me.
After I did it – I even gave them a few weeks’ notice – everyone started commenting that I looked like a completely different person. I looked happy and relaxed. I didn’t know if I was going to pay my bills the next month, but it was one of the best feelings I had experienced in years. After I left, everyone kept saying they wanted to do the same thing. They didn’t, but they wanted to. And my manager, after he saw the change in me, said, “That’s the way it should be. If you’re unhappy, you should be able to quit.”
Yeah, my point exactly. Society tells us not to do that. It tells us to not be who we are or do what we know is best for us in certain situations. We should hold on or tough it out. But, I can tell you, sometimes its best to go against the norm.
Now I’m going to say some things here that people aren’t going to agree with, but I feel that it needs to be said. We live in a society of group think. And group think is killing us and our peace of mind.
Whether its politics, religion or some other societal monitor, we are told what to do and think. Let’s look at religion, for example. If you belong to a church but you disagree with something said or done, then you are in the wrong. Perhaps even a sinner. And you are led to believe that you are bad for thinking for yourself or living based on your own experiences.
Religion creates a lot of judgement whether people want to admit it or not. And hypocrisy, I might add – at least that’s been my experience.
To me, religion more than anything should be a personal thing. I don’t get going to church. Many folks go to church because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do not because that’s what they want to do.
God will ban me from heaven if I don’t go.
I don’t understand that kind of God. And again, the church and the originators of any belief didn’t know anything about anything either. Call me a blashphemer if you must. They were the self-help gurus of ancient times. They had no proof. No concrete evidence. It was their opinion or their perception. They didn’t know anything with any certainty.
Well, this is what I think, and he agrees, so everyone should believe this way.
To me, if anything in the world should have a singular, personal perspective, it is religion. You know what’s right and wrong, especially when it comes to yourself and how you live your life. That should never be a group think kind of thing. And it should never be used to judge another person or how they live. And no one should ever feel guilty about not living up to a religion’s group think standards.
Growing up, my family didn’t go to church much. Mostly because the church goers told my dad that he would never get into heaven because he loved money too much. He grew up during The Depression in poor, rural north Georgia. Of course he loved money. I didn’t learn that little church fact about my dad, however, until the day we buried him.
Not going to church and not being saved (I grew up Southern Baptist) tormented him. I saw him cry over it many, many times. He worried about it his entire life. And it was all because some group who didn’t know anything about anything told him he wasn’t up to snuff based on their interpretation of the Bible and of my dad.
My dad gave more money to people than anyone I know. He rarely got paid back, but he helped a lot of people. Yeah, he loved money. And yeah, it was a weakness, but we all have those, right?
But he believed he was a bad person. Not worthy of God’s love because he loved money. All because the church said so.
Group think. Not thinking for ourselves … it a source of mental discourse and it’s only getting worse.
We have to start thinking for ourselves. We have to start looking at the world differently – from our own perspective and our own viewpoint. These religions and these philosophies that were created thousands of years ago and our societal norms don’t serve us well any more. They are becoming divisive rather than creating balance.
We need to think of new theories, new philosophies, new religions. Or, at the very least, update the old ones … just like an operating system for your computer. Modern society needs a new operating system. There needs to be a focus on individual responsibility and individual thinking.
The world changes. People change. Beliefs change. But these “institutions” for lack of a better term never change. Never grow. And as the population grows, so does group think. Now, we’re seeing more and more hate in the world. More and more judgement. Less and less compassion. We’re not thinking for ourselves. We are falling prey to group think.
We have to start thinking about what’s right for us as individuals and forget the norms. I mean, we need common rules of law but the way we live our lives should be based on our own perspectives. What we feel in our hearts. If not, we’re going to keep trying to live up to someone else’s ideal or some group’s standards. And we’re going to alienate more and more people who don’t fall in line with the group’s philosophies.
That’s why self-care matters to me. Why I think it’s important.
It gives us time to think. And to think deeply for ourselves. It removes us from group think. We develop our own perspectives and instincts. We think more deeply about the world and how we operate in it. We develop our own flow. We do what’s right for us and make ourselves happy. And when we’re happy as individuals, then those around us are happier and so on and so forth.
Of course, I don’t know anything about anything either. But I know what’s happening in the world right now is not right. And group think plays a big role in what’s happening.
So, if we’re going to change the world, we must realize that no one else knows anything about anything. We have to figure things out for ourselves. Make our decisions based on our own instincts and experiences, and not live up to what some group says we should be doing or thinking.
If we do this, it will clear the mind of a lot of negativity. With less negative personal speak, we see greater inner peace and individual happiness. And if we are happy individuals, then we can become a happier society.