Have you ever wondered why you desire the things you desire?
Well, if you’ve lived on planet earth for just about any amount of time, you’ve probably decided that you want to acquire certain things for one reason or another. These things may include happiness, wealth, social status, approval, or perhaps all that you want is just a little love. Whatever it may be, you have key wants that drive you day after day. Today, I am here to explore why it may be that you so desperately want these things that you are after and to question whether or not these wants are truly genuine to who you are.
So we’ll start by taking it back a bit. Do you remember being just a little kid? Unsure of the world and your place in it? You didn’t know how to feel about many things but you were trying hard to understand them, to make sense of this bright new world. At first you don’t have much to work with, only a few things are in place to help you in your quest for knowledge but these few things wind up making a massive impact on your values and the person you become later on in life.
What are these key factors?
Of these few things, your parents or guardians, whoever they may be play a very large roll. From the moment you are born these people are shaping you into who you will become. They are almost immediately expecting things of you. Eat this, don’t eat that, say this, don’t say that, and so on. These are very early stages of conditioning and many people will attest to the fact that their parents have made very large positive or negative impacts on their lives and who they are today.
So what else?
Parents aside, as you get older, the expectations only rise and by the time you are roughly 3 years old you are starting to contend with other forms of conditioning. If you’re watching T.V you have the media’s influence, and if you’re attending school you have society’s influence. Now these things can be good or bad depending on you, but most of the time they manipulate the mind into thinking it needs things that it in fact does not.
Why is this an issue?
Well, other than the obvious statement that manipulation is not good, these things that you think you need may very well become your definition of success. The media, if it has done it’s job right, will have you believing that you should probably have a good job, a nice car and house to go with it, along with a spouse and maybe a kid or two in order to be successful, and many people have no problem buying into that idea.
This wouldn’t be a huge issue if it wasn’t an extremely large cause of depression and anxiety. The fact is that those who cannot acquire these things tend to look down on themselves as if they are lesser to those who do have such things. People often begin to think there is something wrong with them if their wants and needs don’t align with those around them. This of course isn’t accurate and places unnecessary stress on the individuals not living up to the norm.
So why is it happening?
The answer is because it makes the rich much richer. If you believe you need to be the person the media implies you should be, you will be spending money on beauty products, the nicest of cars, a large house, and so on. It’s not because they genuinely care for you and think you need these things for your own well being, it is simply because it puts money in pocket to have you believing this way. They want you to work for them and then they want you to reinvest the money you have just earned right back into their products.
With all of this in mind,
Ask yourself if you are really making your decisions independently. Do you really need that 50$ anti-acne wash or has someone put the idea in your mind that you need to be clear of any blemish to look good? What do you think? Deep down inside of yourself you must be wary of the decisions you make to be sure you are not becoming a victim of manipulation. This manipulation is very subtle in society and many times you will not even notice it but, almost every where you look in the media you will find someone or something trying to get you to think a certain type of way, trying to condition your mind to believe it needs various things that it likely does not.
It’s no doubt that societal conditioning plays a very strong role in our every day lives, and at this time there really isn’t a huge amount we can do about it. The best defense you have against these forms of manipulation is to ask yourself “Is this beneficial to my life? Or am I just attempting to validate myself in the eyes of others?” if the answer is the latter, it is very likely you are acting on impulses that are not truly genuine to you. In times such as these, it is very important that we realize that success is not something that is so concrete as is presented by the media. Success is real happiness, happiness about who and where you are in life. Success is not what you can afford with your annual income, or the objects you already possess.
Anyone can be happy, anyone can be successful, no matter where they are in life. Make sure you don’t let your happiness become “conditional” to someone else’s standards.