The theme of social conditioning is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. How we aren’t really open and honest with one another on a daily basis, instead we project an ideal of how we wish people to perceive us. On a recent trip away I was in a cafe with some friends. When the waiter came over to serve us we asked him how he had ended up in Portugal. He was completely open and honestly it was slightly shocking (in a good way) to have someone be so real on first meeting them. He said he’d done a meditation retreat there and ended up staying for a while. He said he was processing the idea of letting go of all of these projections, being vulnerable and that there is a huge lack of trust between people because we are so innately dishonest with each other on a day-to-day basis. It was like he verbalised exactly what has been going through my head the last few months. Interestingly, as soon as this guy brazenly opened up in this way to a table full of 7 strangers, I automatically trusted him. If it was socially acceptable to be honest and vulnerable in such interactions, I imagine we’d live in a very different world. The necessity to come across in a certain way to people you don’t know or don’t know that well breeds dishonesty and then in turn, anxiety. By lying in such an unconscious way makes us almost robotic in our interactions. Even if you’re not feeling ok and someone asks you how you are, do you automatically say ‘I’m fine, thanks!’ I know I certainly have. This is just encouraging a society that says it’s ok to lie in order to be accepted.
Letting go of these social norms is of course easier said than done. I have taken it upon myself to be more conscious of my verbal interactions with people and my own honesty. We were all up for sharing the idea that ‘It’s ok not to be ok’ when mental health day came around, but let’s take that a step further and allow ourselves and each other to be completely transparent in our struggles, or even just in our experiences, whether good or bad. Of course it’s ok not to be ok but it’s not really ok to lie consistently (to yourself and others) and expect to be trusted. Whether or not you decide to take this on board and allow yourself to be open with others instantaneously, or whether you aren’t ready to show the world your truth, let this be food for thought. Think about the interactions you have daily, ask yourself how real or how contrived they are. By stripping away the walls which we have built up around ourselves we can heighten our experiences with each other. Think about when you felt most connected to another human being, no doubt it was with someone you trust completely and it was at a time you were being completely honest with them and with yourself. We can bring that connectedness into our everyday lives, raising our vibrations and live in a higher state of awareness.
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