The “What people think about me ? “ syndrome.
That one question which carries tremendous power to both drown you in self-shame or positively pull you to life’s greatest wins. A question, whether we realise or not runs through our minds consciously or sub-consciously almost all the time.
This exists at different levels in different societies/genders but it exists everywhere no culture remains untouched by it.
Many are stuck in careers or relationships they loathe for the fear this question breeds. And on the other hand many have put their heart and soul and won accolades for the fear of this question.
Why is this such an important factor in our lives ?
The reasons are obvious the basic need of “Acceptance”, “inclusion” and “Social safety” or rather terror of exclusion.
Yes as humans we greatly desire to be deemed “good enough” by others and we yearn to have that reflected back to us. So we strive to achieve, achieve, achieve – surge ahead, ahead, ahead – where no one knows. And so many who are much ahead on the achieve and surge ahead path – much more than they themselves expected, still feel incomplete, unhappy and unsuccessful. Because satisfaction and sustained happiness does not come from the society or external factors, it comes from within you. It comes when you make you happy, when you honor your needs, when you listen to your soul instead of suppressing it.
Torn between the two – fear of exclusion (social safety) or listening to one’s soul- we are a massively struggling society.
What is the way forward ?
There is no one size that fits all – but the underlying principle to keep in mind is to make life decisions based on your inner voice rather than societal/cultural pressures, compulsions. Because these may seem to be the right decisions in the short term but in the Long run will turn out to be your greatest pains.
And by the discussion here I certainly do not mean to say that social status is not important at all, all I mean to say is – aiming for social perfection and in the process losing yourself is not desired. You can always aim at finding a middle ground where you live your true self and have a certain social status living your own values.