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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Living a normal abnormal subnormal … life

There are two factors which impact and shape us in young age. These factors are your immediate surroundings and next outer layer of networks. Immediate surrounding is our family, relatives, neighbours. Next outer layer dominated by people from our schools, social groups, activities.

When it comes to family it is important to note that family for one person may not be the same as family for another. There are two main cultures when examining family: the individualist cultures and the collectivist cultures, where roughly 20% of the world’s population (mainly in western world) is Individualistic, according to Chris Smit. The individualist cultures typically develops those more assertive and strong, characteristics helpful for competing. Whereas collectivist cultures is trustworthy, honest, generous, and sensitive, all characteristics that are helpful to people working in groups. Generally speaking people in individualist cultures are more susceptible to loneliness, and people in collectivist cultures are more likely to have a strong fear of rejection. We learn these established values and way of life subconsciously.

We are all being educated to various levels of obedience in young age. Our schools are designed to breed conformity, which means to accept most things as they are and repeating it. As Ivan Illich said “School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.” This conformity where failing is bad, it’s a shame mindset actually breeds mediocrity. This status quo of mediocrity breeds more mediocrity, poor leadership which inevitably support poor performance or blind loyalty to keep the air pumped into their overinflated egos.

So up until adolescence the majority of information we receive is on the subject of the current state of things, normality, and following the perceived normal. Then suddenly when you are an adult, you’ve confirmed and given up your creative expression and ambition to do what you love, you are hit with the ideas that normal is no longer the desired outcome, that it is boring, suffocating and stops you from being who you are.

Psychologist Robert Riggio explains that as social animals, we can easily fall into dominance based hierarchies where we are prone to follow the leader with the highest push to control. We then tend to regulate our behaviour in consequence. This is fundamentally a desire for protection. In this mentality often create biasness which influences our perception in both positive and negative ways.

Brene Brown, a Texan academic showed in her research that we are living in a scarcity culture. Scarcity is the "never enough" problem. Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. It makes harder than ever to show courage and be vulnerable. And showing courage, in the name of meaningful relationships, is hard work. People who don't have the capacity to apologise, are normally people who never saw their surroundings to apologise, and grew up in an environment that relied on shame rather than guilt. In guilt, we feel that we have done something bad. With shame, we feel we are bad. "Guilt is just as powerful, but its influence is positive, while shame's is destructive. Shame erodes our courage and fuels disengagement."

The mandate is not to be perfect (which is a myth) but to be happy and human, a normal human. ‘To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.’ - Ralph Waldo Emerso