We have a hive, or group, mentality.
We need to know we’re accepted, loved, approved.
We want to know we belong to something bigger than ourselves.
Often we look for a leader to show the way. “Specialists” in whatever field we’re looking to know more about. Be it social media, technology, astronomy, culinary creations, or religion – there is always someone to offer up their guidance in the “proper” way to do things. Look up etiquette and you’ll find all sorts of rules from how to greet someone, how to introduce people in the respectful order, how to hold a utensil while you’re eating, how to walk in the park. Everything from business do’s and don’ts to weddings to…you name it.
And if you want to subscribe to those rules, you are welcome to choose from a myriad of people who will be your guide.
Religion is the same way. Take your pick. Would you like something more rigid and direct, or more open to interpretation? The cool thing is that we get to choose where to follow.
I wish for people to learn how to be their own guides.
We all have an inner compass. When we tune in, this compass never steers us wrong. Its sole existence is to help us live our greatest potential and be of service to a higher good.
This is love. Pure. Unconditional.
It is forgiveness and understanding, of self and others.
It is clarity in honesty and truth.
It is united while honoring individuality.
It is healing.
We all have weight and pain. We all struggle. Each past experience feeding into the fabric of our lives. Each trauma and challenge shaping how we react to present and future experiences. Each lesson learned solidifying our thoughts and opinions on how to exist at this time, on this Earth with all of the beauty and challenges surrounding us.
We have been taught a path those before us have chosen. And now we get to define where this path will lead. And with all of the external influences, it’s hard to hear your own voice. That loving, small nudge towards your personal greatness.
We have adopted titles and labels. Some of them willingly and others, not so much. Think about all of them; child, sibling, parent, friend, your gender identity, confidante, chef, chauffeur, peacemaker, nurturer, sexuality, religious affiliation, pet lover, career… the list goes on and on and on.
I think many of these labels help keep us corralled. It’s easier to navigate through life when we know who is affiliated with whom and what boxes they all fit into. It also helps us know where we’re walking. The titles act as guideposts as we move through life. “I’m operating as this for now and then this and then this.”
These titles and accompanying requirements can leave us completely drained and exhausted, especially those we feel trapped in. How do you shed a title you don’t want? How can you take a break from the pressure and expectations?
I think we “accept into” some titles as a way of trying them on. It’s like having different jobs when you’re in high school. Fast food, florist, construction, computers, making an effort in lots of different arenas helps you define what you enjoy and what is a drag on your happiness.
The same thing goes for friendships. It starts when you’re in preschool and just learning how to socialize and communicate. We learn how to share, how to deal with conflict, how to navigate the world of human emotions.
As adults we continue testing, learning, and growing. Life is drastically different on your own than it was at home in the comfort of your family and community. New people mean new experiences and more conflict and growth.
Trying on the titles and labels continues. Often we find people perk up at one job title or description and shrink away at others. If we’re still searching for our own center, this feedback can help shape the profession we go into – for better or worse. It’s entirely possible that you chose into a career you’re lukewarm on because people reacted positively at the mention and you associated that positive reaction to acceptance of you if you move forward in pursuing it.
That is the hive mentality. What response will I get? How can I elevate myself a little in social circles? What job will bring in more money because money equals status and esteem? And yet, where does the inner you end up? Are you happy with your choice? Direction? Path in life?
We find ourselves stuck and frustrated because we didn’t know what we wanted and therefore we couldn’t stand up for it. And if we had?
Well, perhaps we could be living a fulfilling life of joy.
- Is it time to change the mentality from being led to leading yourself?
- Make a list of every label you carry and own. What labels do you adopt willingly? Are there some you’d rather shed?
- Choose one and imagine how life may be better if you were to transform this from a weighty pressure to freedom and joy. Map out steps to help you move towards it.