Courage or Conformity:
Since we were children, we were taught to protect ourselves. Our teachers intimidated us and over-developed our fear response through verbal threatening and shaming tactics. We were taught we'd better conform "or else!" and embarrassed, threatened, and shamed into conforming to what others wanted us to. We had to leave our hearts behind to follow their wills.
As adults, we become empowered once again to follow our hearts. We think we become adults in our 20's but what usually happens is we are still programmed to follow conformist ideals and values and end up chassing financial and/or emotional security through our work and realtionships. We are still seeking "security" and are led around by this dependance by staying stuck in jobs and/or partnerships that are not well suited for us. We stay stuck in our work positions because of our fears of not being able to "make it" by finding work that well suits us. Relationships we stay stuck in because we fear we won't be able to find relationships that suit us, or because we're plagued by feeling of guilt for having to "break our partners heart" by leaving a relationship that is not working. In short, we are held captive by fears of rejection, gulit, shame, and inferiority. We don't have confidence that we are worthy of better conditions and struggle along being "martyrs" and "camels" bearing burdens we fear confronting.
Breaking free of these fears and learning to confront situations that hold us hostage is key to learning how to live freely. With every barrier of guilt, shame, and fear we conquer, we become more and more empowered with freedom of choice. We slowly regain our free wills as we free ourselves of our insecurities and learn to become adventurers sailing freely on the sea of life….A Sea of Joy.
It takes courage to become free. We have been taught since we were children we were not safe on our own and needed the help of others. We weren't taught how to create but constantly stripped of our creativity and instead taught to conform.
Just think of the meaning in the statement "Who do you think you are?!!". How degrading and disempowering it is. This statement shames us into thinking we are somehow less important than our elders. The fact is it is they who are really confused and we are the ones who have not been yet fully conditioned into conformity.
How about "Children are to be seen and not heard!" or "Shut up or I'll give you something to cry about!". Aren't these wonderfully affirming statements that really made your self-esteem grow when you were a child? Do you have any idea what these statements do to ones sense of self esteem? Unless you became a complete rebel, you were forced to become a "camel" of conformity. It is only the ones who were couragous enough to become rebels that didn't have their spirit broken. And these are usually placed in jails because they don't subscribe to social principals of disempowerment.
It's difficult to be yourself in a world that doesn't want you to be. We need to find support and like-minded souls who can give us strength in times of weakness. We need to build communities who can live pretty much without the dysfunctional social system and its dysfunctional standards and rules. We need to find a way to build our own way of life so we no longer have to live inauthentic life styles chasing other peoples' values out of fear instead of our own values out of joy.
Why not find, or look into starting a support group that comes together weekly to support each other in personal re-empowerment? This is already being done all over the planet through various 12-step groups which seem to work quite nicely. The only problem with these is they tend to not develop self-love because of the World War II soldier mentality Bill Wilson had when he wrote the 12-step literature. Self-Love and acceptance and human potential concepts were not yet developed and publicized. We need to incorporate these self-loving principals into whatever support groups we do chose to develop. So long as we believe we're shameful, we won't be able to believe in ourselves. Self-esteem and therefore self-confidence cannot grow without it.