What Is The Cost Of Being A Good Member Of Society?
Ask yourself – what does it cost to be a good member of society? The actual cost of fitting in is to contort ourselves in so many ways that it eventually becomes unbearable, and the prison that contains us must break. When this happens, we try to escape, but we are usually at a loss and keep turning in circles due to ingrained patterns, ending up at the same point where we started. As children, we learned these patterns, but as adults, they become our prisons. One way to get out of the rut is through understanding.
We don’t understand why we can’t escape from this trap, but the solution is simple. Programmed to go around the same track we cannot see an alternative because we have never used another method to break free. We can only look at the situation after trying so many things and know that we remain back where we started. Escape is only through observation and eventually understanding. With understanding about suffering, we can work through our situation and achieve peace within ourselves.
Families and Control
Families are a formidable source of social conditioning. Everyone in a family feels that somebody must meet their needs. However, they are not listening to one another so that no one has their needs met. They talk behind each other’s backs, and they have fixed expectations for each family member. Once cast in a role, it is almost impossible to escape. As they grow up, the only way to be good is to follow this role. The aim of being good is to get approval from the family and fit in. If we are not that way, then we are rejected and have no one.
The primary function of families is socialization to keep the individuals manageable. From an early age, members are already divided by how much trouble each individual is likely to cause. It may seem impossible for human beings to treat one another in this way, but it happens every day.
Parental Love and Conforming
Parents do not love their children equally and show them this in countless ways. They may appear loving, but inside they project their fear of the child or rejection onto the child. Caregivers expect the child to be the “best” and train them to mirror everything the parents wanted from life. Parents have already fitted their children into precise roles. They have a role model of expectations from each child. If children fall short, then they are punished. The child gets a spanking, is grounded, and is put outside or yelled at with no explanation.
The child does not feel that they are being treated unfairly but instead believes that their parents are both just and right. Because of this, they obediently fit into the roles they have learned to live within. There is something surreal about this situation since a child has had no part in its conditioned behavior from birth. These roles do not fit them as individuals but rather as their parent’s ‘model’ child. Children learn from their parents how to be good. They may not agree, but they are not going to sacrifice being included by disagreeing. If they break the rules, they are warned to stop it and are punished every time. In this way, they fear what will happen to them if their parents discover who they are beneath the surface. Their freedom of expression is a privilege that can be denied at any time.
We learn this while young, yet we usually carry this fear with us throughout life. There is no question about obeying even though we may not understand why we have to be like this. It is the only way we have learned to live and the only way our society expects us to live.
Starting to Learn About Being A Good Member Of Society
Education can be transformed into a place of comfort, allowing children to discover an understanding different from the role they have learned to conform within.
Through the broader experience of the world, they may grow up with a sense of pride in who they are as individuals and not conform to an expected role. The contrast between who they are and their conditioning is a challenge to be met. It is one we seldom realize, let alone take.
No Longer a Child and No Longer a Slave
The more we learn about ourselves and our environment, the freer we become. We begin to understand that there are so many ways of living a life with less suffering. As see how we are all born into this world, and we accept that suffering is a natural part of our existence. However, when we see things clearly and do not accept our conditioning for life, our understanding will change. Suffering is a fact of life, but through understanding, suffering no longer controls us.
Many people believe in this system of obedience even though there is no reality or truth behind it. The child believes what it learns to be true and has every reason to trust its caregivers as it knows nothing else. Habitual behaviors continue out of the need to please the caregivers around them for survival.
Rebelling against childhood conditioning is challenging because it is easier to be good than to understand. In being good, the one who is acting believes themselves to be good, therefore, have nothing to criticize or change about themselves. The individual sees all the faults in others but not within themselves. Thoughts of actually trying something different frightens them into inaction. They may wonder if there is anything wrong with what they are currently doing – even though they suffer considerably. The fear of trying something different keeps most people trapped in this cruel stalemate.
As an adult, this learned system is broken because it no longer serves you as it did when you were a child. We can question and dissect the beliefs we have been raised with, seeing them as rules expected of us rather than truth. Seeing the truth is liberating once we realize that these people have no reason to be correct because, like us, they do not know what is true. They do not know everything, and they can be wrong.
Because now you are an adult, you see that other adults are not perfect. You can see things clearly and do not need to accept any role or title unless it serves you. It may not be possible for you to escape your present situation, but you can begin to see your part within this system, and that is a freedom of a sort in itself.
By understanding and realizing that you do not have free will in the situation, your observation becomes sharp, and it begins to expose all the things you believed were true. You begin to notice how you have learned your conditioning to be the way you were, in a state of suffering.
Why Do We Avoid Understanding?
Instead of the person who is overly critical of others looking at themselves, they have a fear of looking deeper into themselves. They will see that their criticism is being projected on to other people and not being as good as they would like to believe. These people are always unhappy and unfulfilled because they do not know how to live without expecting things to be as they desire.
They think that things should be a certain way, and everything goes from there, regardless of whether it is for better or worse. The overly critical person may be afraid of the various suggestions and options presented to them to help them get better. They fear that they might have to put in some work. Not understanding what this means other than they might have to take the initiative, even if it leads to success. Taking the risk is scary for most people as they would rather suffer in silence than put effort into exposing and understanding what has been happening to them and why. Avoidance is a Catch 22.
How I Overcame the Darkness
When I became aware of the feelings and thoughts that ruled my life, I wondered why some lived like this and others lived so differently. It wasn’t apparent to me because I would never have thought about these things before. But when I started thinking about them a lot, the world made more sense.
It helped when I sensed my body and observed the tensions that arise due to my emotions and imagination. I began to notice that I was pretty rigid and stuck in my experiences, even though I had no reason for it.
That led me to discover how to have a different perspective on things. There were many things in my life that I had not noticed before. When I start noticing myself, I saw what was happening and how I affect my thinking. I began to feel very angry about this, but I realized that the problem is not with other people or life itself. The problem is within me.
Understanding myself was my escape hatch out of the prison of compliance. I am so much happier since understanding how my imagination triggers my emotions and causes pain in my body. It’s all related, and the core to understanding it is through simple practice. Like learning scales to play the piano, this practice builds on itself, and it belongs to me. It’s not the property of a therapist, doctor, or any outside influence. It’s mine.