Many experiences are responsible for our conditioning, and some of these include but are not limited to the following: religion, childhood memories, parental guidance or non-guidance, school programming and societal programming. Up until 7 years we are like soft sponges that take in and believe everything we expose our senses to, as the truth.
At that point, our analytical skills are still immature to choose what’s good or bad. And even when we get hurt physically or emotionally we don’t really relate those experiences to other mental conditions, because we don’t have a lot of data/information in form of experiences to associate our pain with. That’s the very reason why most kids are able to bounce quickly from crying or sadness, to laughing or playing.
If we are lucky, some programming, conditions us to be flexible, make our own choices and find our unique paths. If we are unlucky we get conditioned to do as others do because then we are certain of being accepted and experiencing a sense of belonging-ness. As adults, we become exclusively stuck to the conditioning whether it serves us or not. We become rigid to our own growth. And whether we are hurting or not we choose to maintain that conditioning because it feels familiar.
Furthermore, we are social animals who tend to gravitate towards common behavior…the known. We generally follow the same social, technological, medical, and fashion trends—to mention but a few. We imitate and/or benchmark others so that we are doing the same things. We believe that it is the cool way to be. We are afraid of the isolation that we anticipate to feel if we do things our way. However, just like a pack of animals, we don’t dare to explore our own uniqueness. We play it safe because it feels safe to be like everyone else. We avoid the road less traveled because we are generally so lazy to explore and discover things on our own.
“We avoid the road less traveled because we are generally so lazy to explore and discover things on our own.”
Although without benefits, following the crowd has cons. Firstly, just like animal-packs, the behavior of crowds is predictable and consequently, manipulate-able. And this is why we as a society buy what we don’t need, spend money we don’t have to impress people we might not even like, do what we don’t believe in, and believe that it is okay to play it safe. And why is that? It’s because the mind programmers know our common behavior and have designed environmental triggers to subliminally influence our actions for their benefit.
Some of the things that we do because other people do them include but are not limited to the following:
- Buying gifts/flowers/cards for our loved ones on Valentines’ Day.
Although there are quite a few stories about this day, it’s generally intended to promote love for those who are less fortunate or those or in situations in which love is ridiculed.
My concern is, why wait for Valentines Day to prove your love? What’s up with all the tension accumulated by the masses doing last minute shopping, RSVP-ing over-booked restaurants and making this day such a huge deal? Why join the chaos? What’s up with spending money that you might not even have to buy gifts and flowers just to prove a point? Wouldn’t you agree that it’s because everyone or most people you know are doing these things?
The question is, are you doing these things to fit into society or mainly because you want to show your spouse that you truly care for them?
As a side note, did you know that approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas?
What does this mean? In my humble opinion Valentines Day has been turned into a day for businesses to make as much money as they can, selling stuff that your spouse might even never use. With that in mind, how would you celebrate your loved one differently? What’s does your authentic-self inspire you to do to let your spouse know that you care about them? Do you believe that it wouldn’t impress your spouse if you did something unique for them on days other than Valentines?
- Exchanging gifts/cards on Christmas day
Okay, this is an interesting one. Christmas, is intended to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Considering that Jesus Christ was, and is still considered as the Savior, in my opinion it would be more meaningful to spend the day celebrating his birthday, that’s even if he was really born on December, 25th. But that’s another story.
What would be the best way to celebrate one’s birth? Wouldn’t you agree that it would be more meaningful to either give them gifts if they were still alive, or spend time dwelling on their good acts if there are deceased? Why would we exchange gifts to celebrate someone’s birth? Do you believe that buying all these gifts for each other and eating our hearts out on Christmas day, impresses Jesus?
Furthermore, we send Christmas cards every year to our loved ones; and that’s a good thing. However, what has exchanging cards got to do with the birth or Christ? Wouldn’t you agree that we’ve been conditioned to adopt the idea of sending Christmas cards to benefit Christmas card businesses?
Be honest. Do you keep all the Christmas cards you receive every year? Do you decorate with them? If you do, then you must have a lot of space to store these cards.
How about celebrating the birth of Christ doing one of the things that he taught us? How about visiting hospitals to celebrate the birth of strangers and finding a way to give back? How about reaching out to help someone less fortunate than you are? Just because other people send out Christmas cards every year doesn’t obligate you to do the same. I guess also the sense of guilt manipulates us to behave like others.
There are many more things that we do because others have done, or are doing them. Note that this does not only retard our mental growth, but also keeps us refined to the status-quo.
“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Find your own myth.”~Rumi
Preceding, are just a few things that we do to unconsciously imitate others. However, we have to remember that it’s okay to follow our own paths. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to question everything in order to think for yourself. Life should be explored maximally. And for this to happen we have to be open to what’s more about us and the world in general. We shouldn’t be afraid of exploring different paths: because it is okay even if we try and do not get the results that we hope to get, or do not experience what we envision. Most importantly, it is not required that you fit in. Remember that those who change the world always do what’s different than what everyone else is doing. Take the chance on yourself, and stand up for what you believe in less of the environment, and people’s conditioning.
“Those who change the world always do what’s different than what everyone else is doing.”