Monday, September 17, 2012

Hi Ya!

Let's face it, we live in a pretty strict society. This isn't a political post about USA and freedom and such, I'm talking in more of a peer pressure sense. We (and I include myself 100% in this "we") care so much what other people think that we often push down our own needs and wants in order to "fit in".

Last week I took Alex to karate class. It is just a beginner's class, and the instructor began by saying "any of you moms you want to join in, please feel free." I really wanted to. I love learning new things and moving around screaming "hi ya!" seemed much more enjoyable than sitting on a hard plastic chair for an hour. But none of the other moms got up, so I stayed put. The entire class, I was thinking about this - wishing I had stood up and joined the kids in the line. But not wanting to be that "weird" lady who was punching and kicking with the 6 year olds. I wasn't ready to be labelled - especially being new in town and trying to grow a local business.

When did I begin to care so much what others thought over what I wanted? If I look at kids at various ages, it is clear to see the progression of societal influence. Babies don't care - they scream, throw, poop and dance when ever and where ever they want to. As the kids grow up we as parents try to help them fit in with society by letting them know when something is appropriate and when it isn't, which is essentially laying down the idea to conform to the majority. They take this idea to school where their peers are the majority and many begin to take it to extremes - either needing to be identical to everyone else or identical to no one else. And somewhere along the line we begin to balance out our version of "fitting in" and stop thinking about it - it just becomes our way of life.

What if we challenged it? How would our lives be different if we stepped back and recognized all of the things we do and don't do because of others? What would we do differently if we really listened to ourselves - what we wanted and didn't want? I am not talking about robbing banks here. Moreso the subtle things in our lives - like eating dessert when no one else wants any, or wearing a shirt your teenage daughter rolls her eyes at. Or learning how to do karate with a bunch of 6 year olds. Hmmm....

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