Sunday, September 01, 2013

Some of the Stuff I used to Believe but Don't Believe Anymore

Some of the stuff I used to believe I just picked up unconsciously from the culture (media, etc.) and some was taught to me (parents, school, church, etc.).  I really did my best to live by what I believed.  I worked at making myself conform by torturing myself with inner criticism and blame - which was what I had been taught would work.

What makes you a worthwhile person is:
  •  If lots of people like you (popularity)
  •  You get good grades in school but not really good grades because that makes you too smart to be popular(if teachers like you, that doesn't count either).
  • You are reasonably decent looking although it makes a huge difference if you are really, really, really nice looking.
  • You must NEVER be overweight.
  • You need to have some kind of talent that you can be admired for.
  • It's a good idea to be entertaining - funny.
  • Getting a lot of money is a great way to be a worthwhile person. 
  • Getting a high class job is essential to being a worthwhile person.
  • If you're a girl, never, ever have sex unless you're married to the person (or at least don't get caught), because no one will ever think you're a nice person again if anyone finds out.  This doesn't apply to boys, by the way.  Having a lot of sex is admired.
  • Having boyfriends/spouse that are very good looking, educated, from a high class family and who have jobs like doctors, lawyers, or other professional jobs plus lots of money is almost essential to being a worthwhile person. (For guys, all the girlfriends/spouses have to be is very good looking.)
  • Have good looking, very smart, well-behaved kids.  If your kids don't measure up, neither do you.
  • If you're a woman, you must always put your significant others' needs and wants ahead of your own.
  • If you're a women, it doesn't matter what your talents, interests or desires are.  Your first priority is to be a good cook, housekeeper, etc. It doesn't count if you don't want to or don't have the ability.  You have to learn and do it anyway.  You were born to serve men and children - it's your destiny.  No sick leave, paid vacations, or retirement.  You must crank out those meals and keep the house immaculate, etc. until you keel over.
  • You must keep your emotions under control.  Nice people don't cry, yell, or curse.
  • Dressing according to the fashion is essential.  The goal is to dress so well that you look better than everyone else. 
  • Go to church.

There are lots of other things too like going on glamorous vacations, going to a church that a lot of other worthwhile people go to, being known in your community, etc.  But those things aren't absolutely essential to being a worthwhile person. 

As I got older, I became suspicious that a lot of that stuff was not very believable.  I suspected that it was kind of impossible to live up to, for one thing, and that a lot of people just pretended to be those things and lived in shame and secrecy because they were not.  Most of all, I began to notice that all those rules were really about how OTHER people saw me.  And I began to think that I didn't want my life to just be about social convention and whether I was PERCEIVED to be worthwhile or not.

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