Thursday, January 6, 2011

Peer Pressure and the Journey

Society is one big ball of peer pressure, and it can be very daunting to try and re-write your life to make sense for you when facing such pressure.

Everywhere you look there is advertising, media, books, magazines, movies, television and groups of people who hold our culture to a certain standard of living. We are told daily how to look and act and what to own. On top of that, parents and family often have their ideas of how you should live your life, usually either in a manner matching their own or doing what they were never able to do. All in all, it adds up to you wanting something and feeling like everyone and everything around you is persecuting you for that desire.

I am fortunate in that I have always been an outcast from society - for various reasons, and I'm a little bit of a black sheep in my family. They love and accept me but they learned long ago that I can't live my life by their rules and they can think me as weird as they want, but I'm not going to change. By now I no longer hear how strange some of the things I do are because they are used to me walking my own road. I do however remember that when I did still hear it, those words hurt. Knowing I wasn't accepted in society or even my own family was painful but it taught me that I should put my best effort into achieving what I want for myself instead of appeasing others.

Most people do not have that luxury, and many hold the opinions of their family and friends very high. It is completely normal and understandable to need the support of your family and friends as you go through something that can be an incredibly challenging time even with support.

The truth is that if you want to change your life in some way or completely, it will inevitably involve walking through fire at least part of the time. You will hear how what you are doing doesn't make sense, can't possibly work, or is just plain crazy, and if you are dedicated to the changes you are making you will have to get past that.

The best way to work through this is to try and understand where people are coming from when they push their own ideas and beliefs on you. It takes some consideration and understanding, and some time. Eventually you may get used to doing it and just automatically understand that they are lashing out because of their own fear or their own desire not to be the only one who feels the way they do - which is a natural human need.

Humans like to know that others share their point of view, suffer the same hardships as they do and that they are not alone.

It is important to remember when you encounter these people that they are afraid - afraid they are wrong, that you may be right, and that the little voice in the back of their minds that says "everything about our way of life is wrong" that they ignore day in and day out has been right all along. We are all afraid to give up the life that we have always known - even to the point of trying to destroy any possiblity that people could survive in a more natural way. It is not necessarily a conscious decision either - all of this happens in the subconcious before the attack on your beliefs occurs, and they barely know that what they are saying is just a fearful reaction. The human mind can completely alter it's perception in a strong enough fear response. If someone is presented with something that terrifies them, they can have the reaction of striking it down in any way possible.

You cannot force people to accept anything that they are not ready to accept. Give them time, and they may seek it out on their own. Only then can you share the experience. Until that time, you may have to go it alone but you will find that there are others out there who share in what you are seeking.

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