Throughout life, we are bound to pick up ideas or thoughts that don’t belong to us. Our surrounding environments, such as families, schools, work environment, friends and so on, have a major impact on how we shape our thoughts. Society, as a whole, also has a significant impact on us and, therefore, our connection to our true self. How and what we think can be ingrained, consciously and unconsciously, and therefore our behaviour will and can be changed from WHO we truly are.
The issue of unconscious ingraining is deep, complex and on many levels. It includes more than commercials or consumerism. Below are the 3 common areas which are taken from my book THE CODE – transform your mind from the inside out.
Definition of success and happiness
Is your happiness connected to WHO you are or WHAT you have?
Dreams used to be about what you wanted to be, how to thrive and how to fight for something you were passionate about. Happiness was about living a fulfilling life, realizing your dreams and being surrounded by people you cared about. It was deeply connected to WHO you are.
Dreams, however, have taken a different turn, as has the definition of success and happiness.
Commercials sell and reinforce the message that success is linked to wealth and possession. The more wealth you have, the more you possess, the more successful you are. The more successful you are, the happier you will be. Society has collectively and unconsciously taken on this definition which has changed the meaning of success and happiness. It is no longer about what your dreams or desires are or what fulfills you as a person. What truly makes you happy, what and how you define your success, ironically, has been left behind all in the pursuit of happiness. Happiness that is now deeply connected to What you have, not WHO you are.
This toxic unconscious ingraining and cycle has caused many in the corporate world to burn out all for the pursuit of wanting to be successful. The focus on wealth and possession has left many feeling empty within even when they are seen having and living the best lives ever and have mountains of wealth.
The change in the definition of success and happiness has contributed to the disconnection with your true self because the source has changed from one of internal – WHO you are – to one of external – What you have. It further confuses your life by widening the gap between what you sense in your heart and what makes sense in your mind for WHAT you ultimately want in life.
Have you ever asked yourself if this is what you want before stepping onto the treadmill of life? Have you ever wondered why children are so adaptable and flexible whereas adults are generally resistant to changes in life?
From the moment you are born, you are funnelled through different systems. The first big one is the educational system: a nursery school, then a good primary school, followed by college or university. Many go to university even when they are unsure of what to study, let alone what profession to work in.
When you have graduated, you start your working life. Your first job is followed by a better one, then a better one again. The definition of “better” is largely and usually related to your salary, less on job satisfaction or self fulfilment.
With more money, you are told you should live better. You buy your first home, then a bigger one, then a second home. You then purchase a car, then a better car, then a second car. You are told it is good to relax to de-stress. So you go on a simple holiday, then a fanciful holiday, then more luxurious holidays. These all lead you to focus on What you have, not WHAT you truly want in life.
Have you ever asked yourself if this is the path you want? Your choices have become unconscious rather than conscious as you choose from the pre-selected options. Even when you feel a sense of emptiness in making your choices, you may still take no action as the unconscious ingraining has become your comfort zone.
Staying with what you know, what is known and being part of a norm as how life is shaped – not by you but others, has taken the priority in the decisions you make even when it may not be WHAT you truly want. Overtime, your adaptability and flexibility in making and welcoming changes is taken over by being in your comfort zone. As a result, the light of your uniqueness and the connection with WHO you are dims.
The sense of self is overtaken and overwhelmed by sense of belonging and safety.
Roles and traditional models – past, present and future
The world is evolving and changing faster than ever but traditional models have yet to catch up with the new world.
For an example, the traditional model of a good student is one who behaves well, listens to teachers, takes in whatever is given, studies hard and gets good grades in school. This model still applies in schools these days.
However, the primary purpose of the education system is to provide knowledge that provides the foundation for a professional or vocational future. Is this traditional model of a good student applicable and relevant with more and more people now opting to think outside the box rather than stay within it? Is it fair and right to pin down a child as a bad student when his nature is to question and filter what goes into his mind? And is it right to make or mold a child so that he could fit into the traditional model and be accepted as the norm? When you look at the job market, many jobs that are currently out there barely existed 10 years ago. With the world changing quicker and quicker, it is hard to tell what jobs and skills will be in demand in five years’ time, let alone a decade or two later.
The traditional model of a good mother was that of the stay at home type. The main responsibility was to take care of the domestic issues and children’s needs. With more women choosing to work nowadays, they are facing an internal conflict: fulfilling the expectations on a traditional model of a good mother in a changed world. Some feel torn if not guilty, for not spending as much time at home and with their children as they feel they should. This guilty feeling stems primarily from wanting to living up to the expectations of the traditional model of a good mother, which no longer aligns with and fits into where the world is.
Trying to fulfill the expectations of a traditional model that is no longer valid but not yet recognized or making yourself if not expecting someone to conform is not an uncommon occurrence. This is due to the belief and ingraining that acceptance and recognition by those around you and society is important. However, in this belief, there is very little emphasis on the acceptance and recognition of self at all, let alone self before others.
This belief and the gap between the role and the traditional model has further widened the distance between you and your uniqueness. The “I should” on meeting the expectations of the traditional model is self-imposed and instigated by the way you are ingrained, and it doesn’t account for your personality, preferences or circumstances.
Don’t allow your light to be dimmed by changing yourself to suit others or to fit into somewhere. Create your own model and live the life that is aligned with WHO you are.
If you have a need to live up to any expectations, create your own.
If you need to feel accepted, accept WHO you are first.
If you need to be recognized, recognize that you are unique.