From very early childhood, there is a systematic effort to “domesticate” us by parents, school, church and society.
We come into the world completely free with no judgments of any kind. Then, from the very beginning, we are subjected to a reward-punishment system in an effort to instill the belief systems of others in us.
We come to believe that the approval of others, especially parents, is crucial to our very survival. When we behave in a way that pleases our parents, they reward us. When we do not, we are punished with violence, either physical or emotional. Resultingly, we come to constantly seek perfection so that we are not judged harshly by others or ourselves.
We are forever trying to be “good enough” but never quite are. The result is a near constant undercurrent of unhappiness.
Through this system, we learn to accept the values and beliefs of others as our own truth and it is the rare soul indeed who ever steps out of the box built for them and asks the most important question there is, “Who am I?”
It is not only a question that must be asked, it must also be answered unflinchingly if we ever hope to live fearlessly and truthfully. We have been taught to be so overwhelmingly concerned with the judgments and opinions of others that we actually use them to form our own identity – a false identity.
If we were free of the little red wagon full of the beliefs, opinions, and myths of others that we drag everywhere with us, what would our lives look like? Would they even resemble what they presently are? Most likely not and most likely the world would look vastly different as well.
We would be free of the self-criticism and near constant striving to please that so effectively diminishes our personal happiness. If we can only take that first terrifying step out of the life that was built for us and live our own life, our own truth, then we can finally be truly free.
~Edward G. Dunn
Check out the Happiness 2.0 Podcast – https://podcast.edwardgdunn.com/