Recently I wrote an article that many people seem to resonate with (considering the tens of thousands of views it has already received), the topic of which is how sick the society we live in is and why not accepting what society has offered us as normal is actually a healthy thing to do, although it might socially stigmatize us, even to the extent of making us look somewhat crazy to our fellow human beings.
Of course, society is ultimately nothing but our own creation — a manifestation of our collective mind. Society, therefore, can be changed at any moment we decide that it should be changed, but before we are able to do so, we need to transform our own consciousness.
The most important step to doing so is to question the beliefs that were handed down to us from tradition and start thinking for ourselves in order to find out how we can live in a way that truly contributes to our well-being. To assist you in your journey, I’d like to present you here with five of the most stupid and damaging things that society has taught you and expects from you, along with reasons why you shouldn’t believe and follow them.
1. “You have to obey to authority’’
From a very early age society has conditioned us to not trust ourselves, to not follow our inner voice and to not use our critical thinking. If we attempted to do otherwise, we were told that we would face immense trouble. Hence, instead of creating our own path in life and walking on it, we are following a predetermined path that was given to us by others, whether we like it or not.
We have accepted it as normal to blindly believe in what authority tells us and obey to its rules it has forced upon us, without stopping for a moment and question those beliefs in order to find the truth for ourselves and live the way we want to live and not the way society expects us to live. Not surprisingly, most people can’t think for themselves and don’t take responsibility for their own lives in their hands, which only results in them being victims to the decisions others make for them.
2. “You have to get married’’
Love is a free bird, and in many cases marriage is its prison.
Society has brainwashed us to believe that only with marriage can a couple live happily and lovingly. The reality, however, couldn’t be further from that, and this is obvious from the fact that about half of the married couples end up getting a divorce.
Marriage is mainly a way for people to possess one another, to turn them into their objects and to control them in order to feel secure that they will be together for a lifetime. But how can one know for how long his or her love will last? Love comes and goes, and sometimes it goes pretty quickly. So to force yourself into a lifetime relationship with someone who you might not feel loving towards in the future is silly and immature.
3. “You have to earn a lot of money to be successful’’
In our debt-based economic system, we all need money in order to cover our basic needs and have the time and resources to pursue those things that bring us fulfillment. Many people, however, mistake the accumulation of financial wealth for successful living. They think that in order for one to be successful, one needs to possess a big amount of money.
Of course, they are not responsible for that. Since we were school children, most of us have been made to believe that money is the ultimate goal in life — without it, life is meaningless and purposeless, and if we fail to earn a lot of money, then we are, in a sense, failures ourselves.
So we see almost everyone around us striving to earn more and more money, yet no matter how much money they manage to make, they still feel sad and empty, not realizing that true success doesn’t truly come from money, but from learning to live in harmony with ourselves and others.
4. “You have to own a lot of stuff to be happy’’
Many of us think that to be happy one needs to own a lot of stuff, especially stuff that is expensive.
Advertising has fooled us into believing that happiness is to be found in material objects, and unless we possess a lot of them, we’ll not be able to live in joy just the way we are. But no matter how many possessions we have, we still feel thirsty for more, simply because the acquirement of material objects cannot satisfy our emotional needs.
What we truly need in order to be happy is to form intimate relationships with others, to pursue our passions, to develop a mindful attitude and be grateful for the gifts that existence has offered us — and no amount of money can buy us any of these.
5. “You have to be religious to be a good person’’
Another stupid thing that society expects from you is to be “religious.”
Most people have been taught from their parents, school and church that in order to have good morals and act in an ethical manner towards their fellow human beings, they need to blindly believe in religion and unquestionably follow its dogmas.
But I am telling you: This is utter horseshit!
To be religiously indoctrinated means to suppress yourself in numerous ways. That’s because to follow a religious dogma means that you act in certain ways solely because a scripture or an authority figure says so, and not because you truly feel like doing so, and this has tremendously negative consequences both on your and the world’s well-being.
Firstly, you fill your psyche with self-hatred, because, when you feel that you are not good enough as you are, how can you love yourself? You can only hate yourself. And when you hate yourself, how can you love others? You can’t, for self-love is the beginning of other-love.
In addition, doing certain things just because your religion says so might be tremendously harmful to yourself and those around you, even if you have the best intentions. Indeed, some of the greatest atrocities in human history were committed in the name of religion.
Lastly yet perhaps most importantly, when you believe that your religion is the only true religion, you start seeing other religions as inimical to yours and you turn against those who subscribe to them. Therefore, dogmatic religion inevitably breeds hatred and conflict among people.
Having said the above, most of the world’s major religions do have at their core some important lessons to teach, so study them and learn what you can from them, but make sure to discard what you feel is not right and helpful. Above all, don’t be attached to any ideology, whether religious or otherwise.
Being deeply social beings with an inherent need to connect and be loved by others, many of us choose to compromise the way we live in order to receive social approval, out of fear that if we don’t do so we’ll be abandoned and experience loneliness.
This way, however, we only achieve to sacrifice our well-being. Obviously, to force yourself into doing things just because others told you to do so, is not the best decision to make for yourself.
To rebel against society is a difficult thing to do, but absolutely necessary in order to bring peace, happiness and freedom into your life and help create a more beautiful world. Therefore, if you want to make positive personal and social change, you need to to let go of the toxic beliefs that were instilled into your mind from tradition, and gather the courage in your heart to say a big NO to fulfilling society’s expectations, no matter the obstacles you might encounter along your journey.