It is bizarre to realize how much influence society has on us. You don’t think it affects you, until one day you realize you have a stronghold of some sort that is holding you back or dictating you from doing something, and so you have to do your detective work by internally dissecting it, questioning it, and over time it floats up to the conscious mind, and you conclude that this is the result of a societal norm that has been planted in your mind since you were born.
What am I talking about? So many things honestly. But in particular, I am talking about gender. As a woman living in Western Civilization in 2017, we are in a period of a great conscious awakening. Because of this, it leaves a lot of us questioning things that were once deemed as normal by society, and wondering if they would good and/or fair at all. It also leaves women like me who were raised with Baby Boomer parents, very confused and questioning a lot of lessons we have been taught.
For example, the concept of “ladylike.” I am a proud feminist, who loves the idea and concept of equal pay, treatment, and quality of life for both men and women and I consciously know when something or someone is being sexist, unjust and unfair; however, I am so uncomfortable when a woman is crass or openly talks about sex in a derogatory way, yet when a man does it I sometimes find it “true” and “funny.” This is a result of society’s views on men and women that have been implanted in my unconscious. I relate women to being nurturing, kind, gentle, caregivers, and the men are the powerful, funny, intelligent breadwinners. Consciously I know this is not correct, but unconsciously on some degree I hold a belief that women shouldn’t be anything but “ladylike” because of my roots in the south and what society has taught me.
I once read an article on MSN where the author discussed how one of the reasons society sympathizes with the white male is because of literature. Think about “Old Man and the Sea,” “Tom Sawyer,” “Huckleberry Finn,” “Brave New World,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” etc. The literature and required readings we were told to read had a lot of strong male lead characters who went through hardships and overcame them. We as the audience rooted for their victories and mourned with them through their losses. Whereas with women protagonists, there weren’t many in early literature that has impacted majority of the population in our current society. This is why it’s so huge that the new Star Wars has a female as the lead character, and why it’s so amazing more books and movies have female lead roles. This author went on to make the connection that this is why many people wouldn’t accept Hilary Clinton as president, but that is another story for another time.
My point is, society plays a HUGE impact on who we are as people. It’s inevitable that other people have a huge influence on who you are as a person, even though “society” tells us to not let outside influences dictate who we are, the decisions we make and who we become. It’s no wonder so many of us are having identity crises and are unsure of what we want, who we want, and how we want to live. The media’s news, the self-help pieces we read, the music we listen to… it all contributes to who we are as individuals. The quote, “What you think you become,” really is true.
So, what’s the answer? I don’t really have one. I do believe that you need to pray, meditate, and ask for guidance from God. I believe your parents, friends, role models, and mentors are all there to help guide you in (hopefully) positive directions. At the end of the day, as long as you aren’t committing a crime or doing something harmful to yourself or others, the decision is yours. Do you want a life where you listen to outside influences, feeling confused and unsure of what to do? Or do you want a decisive life where you minimize the outside nose, and do what you know is right internally?
I believe a lot of people lose the skills to do the latter because we have a disconnection with our spiritual selves. Therefore meditation, nature, praying, breathing and relaxing are so important. There is freedom in discipline when we make it a habit to take care of ourselves through the aforementioned. It is through the times of true inner peace our true selves are revealed to us, because that’s who we are at the core: peaceful, loving, non-harming, positive, spiritual beings.
God bless and Namaste,