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You Aren’t, You Cannot, You Need

July 4, 2011

I feel it’s necessary to briefly touch on the topic of social conditioning. For those at a loss so far, that’s just a way of saying how one is trained to think or behave, usually within a widely accepted framework. It takes place everyday, mostly in television shows and movies, and even in ads. Obviously they’re giving you entertainment, or selling a product, yet we should realize how they are shaping our subconscious mind, intentionally or unintentionally.
Just look at the overall message we can get from a 3 minute block of commercials:

You’re hungry, and you’re just not yourself when you’re hungry. You need a candy bar to be at your full potential. Maybe now you can get the most up to date phone and be cool. But appearance is everything, and you really can’t be confident until you wear our clothes and use our hair-gel.   But you’re still a pussy-that is until you man up and drink our beer (and not one that you actually like). 

This isn’t over-analysis; its exactly the message that goes nearly undetected in your conscious mind when you even consider your relationship to these products.

Movies are even worse, since the industry sells itself as a reflection of society, rather than admitting its role as one who influences society. Through humorous narrative and witty dialogue we are told that we must sleep with a certain number of women to be considered men, have a nice car to even be looked at, be famous, etc. (Women are exposed to the same type of garbage in movies, but that’s another 3 posts worth of information).

With this kind of programming, its no wonder that guys are led to believe that getting the woman, or the cars, or the fame will solve all of their problems and make them complete. This type of thinking will without a doubt hinder your relationships.

So how can you “deprogram” yourself from all this garbage?

I wouldn’t say there’s a magic pill, nor is it a tedious or daunting task :

1. Be mindful of the programming taking place. A simple analysis of the messages, like shown above, can go a long way. Just try asking yourself what it means to be a man, and what it means to be successful. You’ll soon realize that the answer you find was likely constructed by society. It’s your job to figure out where you are being fed this message.

If it’s movies, ask yourself “Just what are they trying to get across?” If it’s commercials, feel free to do the same, or better yet, mute them.

2. Change your inner voice. There’s much to be said about the inner voice which echoes these messages. It seems to go on throughout the day, speaking the loudest in high pressure situations. But it doesn’t have to be negative and critical. Next time you feel inadequate, remind yourself that you are complete, regardless of how many cars you have or how famous you are. Consciously use your inner voice to build yourself up, or leave it alone and let it continue to criticize you. Your choice.

This isn’t meant to scare anyone or to put a wholesale prohibition on media. Rather, it’s meant to cause you to be mindful of what could be hindering your relationships. Much refreshment can be met when you become aware of yourself (down to the messages you are given) and know that you can stop chasing satisfaction on the outside when you realize that the proverbial kingdom is already within you.

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