Oh, how I hate dealing with overly-confident women. They seem to be everywhere! Always on line at the grocery store, sitting next to me at theaters, shopping at the bookstores I frequent, standing up tall and proud at Starbuck's, waiting for their Soy Triple Mocha Capp with No Foam. Inspiring me daily to be an even greater version of myself than I was the day before.....
I wish that were actually the case. Unfortunately, what I most often encounter are women who are overwhelmed with feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, low self-esteem and body image issues. It is basically an epidemic.
We are all of us, men and women alike, raised in a culture which is geared toward consumption. Taught from an early age, both overtly and subliminally, that we are not enough, and that we should have what our neighbors have. We can feel better if we drink one more soda, buy one more car, or go on one more vacation to an exotic destination.
In the words of Uncle Noam: (Noam Chomsky)
"You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption."
It also doesn't hurt if the things we are buying in order to heal our souls put us deep in debt. The last time I went with a friend so that she could look at a car, the salespeople spent the majority of the time selling her a loan. It was like the car was a secondary concern. "Let's getcha into this fixed-rate 5 percenter! Isn't she sporty? Oh, that loan is you."
We are taught to be afraid of each other, to be afraid of anyone who appears to be different, and threatened by anyone who appears to have more, or, less. We are schooled about terrorists in far off places who are a threat to our way of life, of poor people who are so desperate that they will take the little bit of the world that we believe we own away, of immigrants who are here to take our jobs and opportunities. Us and them. Us and them. Us and them. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.
This is all a rouse. We are more alike than we are different, but we are being manipulated to fear each other instead of help each other. In order to handle this constant fear-based messaging, we withdraw into our games, our reality TV, our entertainment. We are on auto-pilot; we are drones. After a while, everyone starts to look like a terrorist.
But we are not drones, are we? The very reason this manipulation works on us is that we are all human, full of faults, jealousies, pain, fear, joy, hope, and passion. All we need to do is turn off the noise and listen. Turn off the radio in the background, the TV, the movies you play in your mind. Turn them off and listen to each other. Listen to ourselves.
Our confidence, men and women alike, lies in our ability to connect with each other, and we are much better at that when we know ourselves. So do me a favor and breathe deeply. Do yourself a favor and look at the sky. Do your children a favor and turn off the phone. Get to know yourself. Get to know the people around you. Challenge yourself in some way every day, even if it is only for a minute or two. Challenge yourself to wake the fuck up.
It is through challenging ourselves that we find out who we really are. I challenge myself every day to slow down and listen to people, to not wait for my turn to talk, to find the value in the people around me. To identify with their faults and understand that on a very basic level, I share their weaknesses.
I would love to hear how you challenge yourself. What do you do to draw yourself out or to help other people do the same? Or, do you have a challenge for me?
Let me know in the comments below.
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