We all go through periods of feeling lost in an area of life. The question is, how do you move beyond the funk?
It starts with understanding how and where, specifically, you've disassociated from yourself. Trauma and socialization and two of the most common reasons to get knocked off course. Today, we'll explore socialization.
In 1954, psychologist Leon Festinger proposed the idea of Social Comparison Theory. He suggested that people have an innate drive to evaluate themselves, often in comparison to others. People make all kinds of judgments about themselves, and one of the key ways we do this is through social comparison, or analyzing the self in relation to others.
Whether it's the nicest house, the smartest, most beautiful or athletic children, the most exotic or hardcore outdoor and travel experiences, or professional accolades, we often get lost chasing acculturated *wants* that have little to do with our true, inner yearnings.
Wants can run the gamut, dependent on your culture. In Western culture, it's often nice houses, gear, experiences, social or professional reputation, fame and more. Yearnings are deeper, and often simpler qualities. People often YEARN for peace, simplicity, freedom, joy or companionship.
Unknowingly, we can live our lives in order fit into our culture and rise up the ranks socially or professionally. And we hustle to get ourselves there.
Hustling can look all kinds of ways.
Being polite to get approval is a hustle
Repping a certain style/brand to seem rugged, trendy, apathetic or rich is a hustle
Using big words to sound smart is a hustle
Sitting piously in church or temple is a hustle
Working unreasonable hours to get more money or promotions is a hustle
Making sure others know that you never miss a day on the ski slopes, or meditated for an hour, or are a vegan is a hustle
Anything we do to influence others' opinion of us is a hustle.
While we're playing these cultural games, we divide from our inner selves. Hustling doesn't mean your bad. It just means you're well socialized, and internally split.
While your hustle may get you the things you want, it won't give you what you yearn for.
But when you're making decisions in integrity with who you really are, you won't care quite as much about all those things you used to want.
Finding our way back to ourselves begins by detecting what in our lives is driven by CULTURE and what is drive by NATURE.
So today, I leave you with an exercise to try in your journal that will help you start to recognize the difference.
We all get lost from time to time. The way back starts not at first with action, but by remembering who you really are.
EXERCISE: Answer the following questions in your journal. Then, start to pay attention in your daily life -- how much of what you are doing has to do with your NATURE vs. your CULTURE? No need to take any action yet. Just start by recognizing how much of your life you are doing these things, in what situation and with whom.
Do you spend time with people you don't enjoy? Who are they? (Make a list)
Do you consistently do anything you don't want to do? What are they?
Are there things you do because you fear that not doing them will upset someone or lower your value in the eyes of another?
Are there any times in your life where you are regularly pretending to be happier or more interested than you really are? In what areas do you tend to do this?
Do you ever say things you KNOW aren't true or don't really mean? What are they?