Being alive is not merely about existing. It’s also not just about consuming or entertaining yourself or about making a living. It’s not even just about the pursuit of happiness – which seems rather childish to me, by the way. As if everything has to be ‘fun’. No, to be alive is (also) to act. And to try to become what you are, as Nietzsche said. To be able to do that we have to shed our skin, several times. To ‘come to the world’, several times as Heidegger pointed out. ‘Cos not everything is already there or ‘the case’ just because you’ve been born.
And how we act has a profound influence on ourselves and others, and therefore on society as well.
So, when we become or remain emotionally incompetent (afraid to feel things fully), we will tend to avoid all kinds of unpleasant sensations, and thereby unconsciously train ourselves to be runners, avoiders and supressors. We basically train ourselves to betray ourselves most of the time. We will also try to control other peoples behavior, to avoid unpleasant feelings. In doing so we surrender our authenticity, our truthfulness, and in fact our real worth as a human entity – willfully blind at first maybe and somewhat forced by others as well, but after some time even without really noticing. We basically become liars. Fake(r)s. We will start to give in to others, more than is healthy (both for us and for them). And we will rationalize and hide behind (false) stories, half truths or even cloud ourselves in ‘moral’ theories – which in fact are all excuses or sales pitches. (Picture a person, bible in his/her hand – telling lies).
We won’t say what we mean (anymore), we say ‘yes’ when we feel ‘no’ – or don’t even dare to say NO at all, we don’t address what we should be addressing or discussing, we start to please others and quickly look away from inconvenient truths – to avoid rejection, anger and dismissal – thereby creating a mask behind which we hide. We live mainly or merely just to save our skins and get through the day without trouble – which of course is not living at all! We only try to avoid a certain kind of short term ‘danger’ – it’s surviving at best, not being alive. And the far more real danger and trouble we create this way by hiding and betraying we don’t even see, or don’t want to see.
For instance: all of this means that the interactions and relationships we are having are not really with us – as we are – but rather with the masked deceitful and secretly manipulative entity we present to the world. And in time we will be convinced not only that this is who we are, but even that it is right, it is being social, it is nice, kind and compassionate or even spiritual, moral or christian… or at least that’s what we tell ourselves and others – in the meantime aiding them to become or remain fake and immature as well – damn us! And we’ll raise our kids like that too.
On top of that, being untruthful us complicit in the ongoing unwholesomeness or dysfunctionality that occurs in our families, in organizations, communities, our workplace, as well as in politics. We comply to group pressure or the felt pressure exerted by a ‘leader’ or ‘important other’ like a father, boss, matriarch, chair(wo)man, ‘friend’, sibling or colleague pretty quickly – which manifests as remaining silent, looking away, saying ‘yes’ and ‘okay’ when we feel that that’s being expected of us and as never opposing the ‘consensus’. But shutting our eyes for unsavory stuff, untruthfulness, wrongdoings and injustices turns us into enablers. Being willfully blind and spineless is not a vice and not without consequences at all. Not to act can be as catastrophic as inadequate acting. You’re not being moral or kind if you don’t ever speak up, take a stand, be honest or say no to something or someone. That’s not moral, right, social or compassionate at all! On the contrary. In fact, it is weak, immature, lazy, inattentive, unloving and untruthful.
Being willfully blind and a coward is no ambition to celebrate or propagate, and it’s a disaster for any society – whether big or small. And mind this: you are the slave of the one you can’t say no to!
Most people know all of this, somewhere deep inside, where it is gnawing at their hearts. But… the fear of change, freedom and possible rejection or conflict seems so strong…
So, as long as someone believes to be able to ‘get away with it’ he or she will continue on the same detrimental path… detrimental for them but for others too, I repeat. But that’s not how you truly are, nor how you have to be.
So, when we feel the urge and see the need to grow up, or even wake up, we know very well that we will need to address these learned, toxic and sabotaging behaviors, these ingenuine strategies, these unhelpful lies. ‘Cos we start to actually see we should in fact be way more afraid of being inauthentic and being a fake, than being possibly, or occasionally, confronted with some disappointment or anger. It also starts to become clear – as soon as we start to really look into this – that even without being honest (i.e. pleasing, avoiding and betraying ourselves half of the time), people are still regularly disappointed with you, or even slightly or not so slightly pissed off. So, this strategy to be everybody’s ‘friend’ doesn’t really work, does it? (On top of that: does being friendly or being a friend mean saying yes and amen all the time, without any discernment or critical ability? Who needs a coward and a liar as a friend? How is that helpful in any way? Plus it makes you feel rather lousy about yourself, if you’re being honest, right?)
So, these behaviors and conditionings don’t make you ‘safe and loved’ at all! They actually make and keep you small, scared, tired, unhappy about your life and being used and not seen at all! It turns you into a caricature. A shell. A function. A nobody. A walking dead, basically.
We’d better become emotionally competent as soon as possible: able to be with unpleasant sensations in a conscious way. Able to feel through residues of emotional garbage. And to discern between self-betrayal and truthfulness. We should learn to listen to our ‘gut’ or intuition (and then act upon it). And we also need to learn to THINK and clear our heads! ‘Cos most people ‘think’ a lot, except it doesn’t qualify as thinking at all! It’s mostly emotionally driven mental garbage, that is there because they’re out of tune, experiencing inner conflict, having unresolved and unaddressed issues, and because of the aforementioned trained dishonesty and inauthenticity. This mental, panicky noise people call thinking is more like involuntary mental bowel movements. It’s a result of inner trouble and suppressed feelings combined with untruthfulness; not thinking at all!
But it’s very possible to upgrade. Truly feeling, listening, intuiting, thinking are not divine nor magical qualities. They are human possibilities, just like musicality. They can remain dormant or repressed but they can also be awakened or activated, and then trained and refined. They just don’t fall out of the sky all of a sudden. And they are not delivered as a ready to go package as soon as you are born. But you can learn to become like that, and master it. Just like you learned how to read and write, or play the piano, build a house, or grow food in your garden. And exactly like those things, they also won’t be mastered in one week’s time.
So, please see that being untruthful harms yourself, your loved ones and society. And that the opposite will eventually benefit everyone – on many levels. And mind you, not speaking out also prevents many possible positive and beautiful things from happening! One may waste interesting and elevating opportunities and encounters that way that could prove to be very beneficial, uplifting and upgrading to oneself and others. Because by not speaking out and not joining in you simply do not play your part in the orchestra, so to speak. Your voice, view and experience are absent, missing, lacking that way – and also missing because of that is the feedback you might need for further growth and development. Feedback that also might make you enjoy life even more.
Keep it simple at first. Start by noticing clearly where and when you bend the truth, avoid a confrontation, simply freeze or explain something away. Recognize where you choose between this or that, but don’t decide (do you know the difference?). When you make a false excuse (claim or allegation). When you pretend not to know what you very well know to be true. Point the finger at… Or when you don’t say what you damn well know you need to… Or when you are hiding behind ‘kindness’ for instance.
By really seeing all of this, by really taking it in for a while, and by intensely noticing how it actually makes you feel and what it actually costs, you will find the necessary motivation for step by step change. You avoid being, and avoid being you, or you don’t…
And then you can start to learn how to really and consciously feel, look, zoom in, and zoom out, etcetera. And how to listen to your inner navigation system. And to gradually learn to find the right tone while speaking out. Take it one day at a time, one conversation at a time. Practice a bit every day. Don’t do too much, don’t do too little. Again: one doesn’t build a house in one day. This goes for the awareness techniques as well as for speaking and acting instead of hiding and avoiding.
Some of the major differences between a real adult and a sleepwalker are truthfulness, the ability to really feel (in a conscious and open way), to zoom out when required and to follow intuition instead of ego (the anxious, fretful and overly concerned way of behaving). Of course truth matters on more levels than touched upon here, but this will do fine now, I think.
I hope I don’t have to explain that being genuine, fearless, conscious and truthful is not the same as being rude, weird, arrogant or obnoxious, right?
I explain these and other things in the free PDF file I put up on the website – First Aid with Immaturity – and elaborate on other topics related to this in the – also free – PDF called Rose Petals & Barbed Wire. In the interview called The fear of feeling and freedom on the website in this English section, we go into all this from different angles. It might be wise and helpful to revisit that interview after reading the PDF’s.
And of course I am willing to clear up more on these theme’s themes (or other stuff that’s important to you) through (a) Skype session(s) if that would seem useful.
Have a great and truthful day,
Anke Hans found the time to correct and improve this text as well, Thanx Anke!