Is Society a Friend or Foe - Dealing With Society's Expectations
Updated: May 21, 2020
How old are you? When are you getting married? When are you planning to have a baby? Is there any problem? Why have you put on so much weight? What will people say? Why are you going out at night? Who were you with? Why do you hang out with guys? The questions are endless. Have you ever been bogged down by these questions?
Post my previous blog, when I asked my readers what they would like to read about, among many of the responses I received on Instagram and WhatsApp, this was something I could instantly connect to "How to pay deaf ears to society's demands?". Having been affected by these questions for most part of my life and learning to handle it has been a journey and I am sure a lot of you are on this journey too.
To begin with, let's look into the purpose of a society, why does it even exist? Well, in my understanding society was created as a support system. A safety net to hold us when we fall. But, over the centuries due to various reasons society has turned into a place that make us feel the most unsafe. We build armours of various kinds to protect ourselves from our society.
Why does the society have expectations from us, do they really have expectations from us or are they our own insecurities or expectations of ourselves that trigger us? I am leaving it to you to ponder upon.
Knowing that the society is conditioned to function in a certain way (when I say society, we are a part of it too) how do we respond to it? Can we change the society? Maybe or maybe not, but what we can change is the way we respond to it.
Here's how I respond to it.
1. Trusting my choices: the first and the most important step is to trust my choices while giving myself room to fail. Either ways I learn something and move forward without feeling a need prove it to anybody. In that way I'm in complete control of myself.
2. Knowing their intent: when a question is thrown at me, I try to understand the intent of that question. Largely the intent is either good will (in their terms) or curiosity.
3. Empathize: I try to see the question from their frame and know that they don't see my frame. Know that they have been conditioned to think in a certain way that I don't have control over.
4. Acknowledge their intent: letting them know that I see their intent and respect it.
5. Communicate: present them with my frame if I think it's important or just smile away.
This has helped me build genuine relationships that respect my choices even though they don't understand it. And I know when I fall, they will stand by me coz I have chosen to stand by myself.
When you are trigged by these questions next time, ask yourself "What about this question that holds the power to trigger me?" you'll know the answer.
I would like to leave you all with a quote from Anthony De Mello's book titled Awareness. He says "You're more likely to respond accurately when you perceive clearly"
Cheers!! P.S. The representational image is a painting titled "Human Interactions Are Simple Yet Complex" by Artist Sapna Anand, you can check out her beautiful work here.
My heartfelt gratitude to her for this collaboration.