Culture does some amazing things to our brains.
Culture tell us how to act, think and behave based on norms without our society.
This is not new information to most people, however I think we often overestimate the degree to which it influences our perception of the world.
Our daily lives and conversations are driven by our cultural lenses — We find ourselves leaning into people and situations where we find mutual understanding — and we turn away from subjects or people that seem off-beat. Narrowing our focus further.
Now we’re stuck listening to top forty fabrications all the time.
Where exactly did we pickup this rhythm in the first place?
The music of our culture is a learned schema, someone taught us to play.
We were not born with the social references of our society, we were taught them. Just as we were taught what material needs to seek, covet and value.
Babies are born innocent; looking only for love and hoping to avoid pain. They know nothing of culture and social conditioning. Their only weapon is how darned cute they are; it makes you want to keep them alive.
Whether we accept it or not It is this pure desire for love (and avoidance of pain) that remains in adulthood, and drives all our cultural behaviour. We simply now have a bigger toolbox of communication to source out feelings of approval and connectivity.
Enter the danger zone. Our basic instincts, cause our focus to narrow. We become wrapped up in a cultural identity and repeat patterns that either brought us love or kept us safe in the past. *Not bad if we want to survive.
* There is no judgement here
So go-ahead: hit me with more movie-one liners — tell me the same joke that all your friends are telling. It makes us both feel like we belong. I understand you and you understand me.
Boom — outside approval and validation. We’re both happy. No harm done.
But please don’t depend on this approval to measure your self-worth.
Remember that the requirement of approval from anyone other than yourself is severely detrimental to your health, mental and physical.
Those from whom you deeply crave to be approved are just as trapped in the cultural vortex as yourself. They have difficulty in bending their perspective to view reality as it is — or even as it might be perceived by someone else.
Trapped in Identity.
You can raise the game however, let no external circumstance or person effect how you think and feel towards yourself. In every moment, decide to love yourself unconditionally. Only you can judge what self-love looks like.
As you let go of need for external sources of approval, suddenly you might find that a hole lot of people approve of your methods.
In this moment you are free. In fact you always were, but now you know it.
Imagine again, letting go of all cultural expectation of who you should be — or what your purpose is. Imagine letting go of any story you may be telling yourself about who you are, where you grew up and what your abilities are.
You have no limitations.
Imagine being a blank slate.
This is possible.
From that slate, create. You choose exactly what you want to represent and who you are today. You have the choice now if you want to be a radical, or if you want to blend seamlessly into the the cultural web.
Ask yourself — what change do I wish to see in the world? Now embody it. *Cliché, I know — but true.
There is no right or wrong, so long as you feel good about it.
You have no obligation to anything or anyone other than yourself. Check in there first.
Let us not kid ourselves that the actions we take in the world are purely selfless or necessary. We are replaceable and we are selfish; this is fantastic.
This is a licence to view yourself as autonomous. Whatever it is that you desire the most, do that. If you believe that this is possible you will see the world unravel itself for you. You will experience the release of cultural narrative and the well-spring of possibility come into your life.
I challenge you to play a different tune. It may feel like the world is watching, but it simply doesn’t matter because they envy you — and your ability to dance to the beat of your own drum.