As we grow, we learn from a young age about how to be, how to act, how to think, and how to behave, how to say please, and when to say thank you. From the early years, we are taught things like, “be nice,” and “Share,” and “Don’t hit.”
We are taught things like The Golden Rule, which is do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
The Gold Rule is a practice we follow to create our ultimate success, which, in a perfect world and in optimum conditions, sounds great. Unfortunately, the world we live in is far from perfect and the conditions are far from optimum.
As we grow, we learn about life and how to live it. We learn that if we have animals, feed them, otherwise they die.
I learned this from the little goldfish I brought home that time after throwing a ping-pong ball in a small fishbowl at the county fair.
As we grow, we learn about Moms and Dads. We learn about brothers and sisters. We learn about the basic blueprint, which we call life, and dictates how we are “Supposed” to live, think, and act.
This is what tells about the way we should marry, how we should live, and all the other storybook fairy tales we hear as we grow up.
As we grow, little girls are taught about their prince charming. On the surface, we are taught that mommies and daddies get married and have babies. In a perfect world, no one ever leaves and no one will ever be hurt.
For the most part, we are taught a commercialized version of family, which is odd, because true family life is nothing like commercials; therefore, we learn about a thing we call “Double standards.”
We learn that people are not always nice and they will not and do not do unto others as they would have others do unto them.
As we grow, we learn not everyone shares. Not everyone tells the truth. People hit. People can be mean.
As we grow, we learn that although there are heroes in this world, most problems that occur in life are not settled like they are on a half-hour television show.
Bullies do not always get what’s coming to them and sometimes, bad people get away with bad things. Meanwhile, good people will make a mistake and they will be publicly hung or crucified for all the world to see.
As we grow, we learn about social connections. We learn about status. We learn about the different segregation of cool. As we develop, our thinking develops different neuropathways.
This is where we create opinions and biases. This is where our subconscious programming comes from. Essentially, we are taught more about life through life’s lessons than say, in a home economics class, or say, in Mr. Nastri’s 8th grade math class.
We learn how to protect ourselves.
We learn about trust
(or should I say, we learn about the antithesis.)
As we grow, we keep these lessons in our mental Rolodex, which we use when predicting and determining our future. We use these teachings and associate them with new and upcoming experiences. This is the birthplace of our self-fulfilled prophecies. This is where we begin t add the mathematics which come with everyday living
Our thoughts travel along the same synapse, down the same roads, and through the same neurotransmitters, always assuming, always predicting, and mainly, always trying to protect us so we can survive.
We learn from our feelings. We learn from experience. We learn that bad things happen and The Golden Rule is not always so golden.
As we grow, we learn that common courtesy is not so common. And we learn this at a young age. We see this on playgrounds. We see this in schools when someone comes in dressed differently or not as fashionable as others.
God forbid, a kid does not match the perfect commercialized appearance. God forbid a kid should be openly challenged or have obvious struggle. God forbid our weight is not perfect or our height is not the “Normal” size.
I tell you the young years are the toughest ones. I say this because these years are the years we collect and store the arrows to protect ourselves. These are all the years when we store the arrows, which will one day shoot down our dreams with insecurity.
This is when we learn what humiliation feels like. We learn about disappointment. We learn that love does not always make Grandma or Grandpa live longer. This is when Moms and Dads make mistakes. This is when we form our personal biases and literally use them as a reference guide throughout the rest of our lives.
In some cases, we grow and we learn and we find ways to cope. In other cases, deep down, we are still the scared kids trying to find our spot on the playground; hoping that we will fit and be noticed for the right reasons, and praying to God that we aren’t noticed for the wrong ones.
Much of our lessons that gauge the way we interact and treat others are trauma based. This is true. In the end, all we want to do is protect ourselves at all times and try not to sustain any damage . . . (So we can survive.)
To survive is to endure. To survive is to overcome. To survive means to live on a daily basis, to be the hunter/gatherer, to be cared for, to be protected, to be prepared, to withstand, to avoid danger, to avoid pain, and to make it home at the end of the day without having a panic attack or a nervous meltdown.
And that’s it.
That’s all we want to do.
Everyone is just trying to survive. We try to survive the times, which can be chaotic. We try to survive the heartache because (and let’s be honest) a broken heart is like dying alive with no hopes of ever being reborn.
We are trying to survive in our adult life the same way we tried to survive in school. No one wants to be picked on. No one asks to be disliked or uncool.
Everyone has things that happen to them in their life, which they swear out loud, “This will never happen to me again.”
But things do happen again. And sometimes things happens for the same reason. Sometimes history repeats itself.
Our thoughts always travel through the same processes, which lead us back to the same thing, over, and over, and over again.
And the funny thing is we wonder. We wonder, “Why do things like this always happen to me?”
They talk about the definition of insanity being that we repeat the same behavior but expect different results.
But do we expect different results?
Do we really?
When it comes to unfortunate things, we certainly don’t want the same results. We don’t want to feel the same way. The problem is that we are programmed. The problem is our blueprint, which we learned from a young age. is the same direction we follow that brings us back to the same place all the time..
We are like builders on a construction site. We follow the set of plans we were given. But what if the plans are incorrect?
What if we as the architect made an error in measurement?
This happens all the time.
What if our abilities to measure were thrown off because our judgement was altered by the deception of our perception?
We grow and we learn and if we’re lucky, we come to the understanding that most of the lessons we’ve held for so long are actually nonsense.
This is why I love young children.
I love them because they have not been predisposed or tainted by life on life’s terms yet.
Ever have a little girl hand you one of her dolls and a pretend cup to have a tea party with her?
There is no other feeling as beautiful as this in the world.