About a year ago, I read a self-help book that warned its readers about trust.
The author’s premise was simple: No matter how much we’d like to think that everyone around us wishes the best for us, it’s not true, and we need to make sure we guard ourselves against the people who will suck us dry. Who are using us.
No, it wasn’t exactly a light read. But it’s true, there are, unfortunately, some people in life we have to catalog and be mindful of.
Furthermore, we need to guard our minds and make sure we aren’t letting influence change who we are at our core.
I’ve never been a trusting person to begin with, but for the first 20-or-so years of my life, my lack of trust was focused around my father, boys, my mother, family members. Simplistic scenarios.
As I entered the second phase of my life, especially in the last few years, as I’ve graduated university, bought a house, was married, and entered the professional workforce, i.e., entering into the “real world”, I’ve been quite disappointed to find the aforementioned author is correct in theory.
Lately I’ve paid more attention to the media — the commercials, the news programs, blogs, newspapers, advertisements, social media, and salespeople.
I’ve observed the brown-nosers, the blood-suckers.
I’ve worked in marketing roles myself in the last few years.
I’ve balanced that with meditation; in working with difficult emotions in silence.
It’s been a difficult realization, but it is also very freeing, to realize that most of what we experience in daily life is a complete sham.
Yes, it is an illusion. It is all a game, a practice, a way to get ahead.
And marketing and advertising is, at its core, psychological in nature. We pull at people’s fears, desires, in order to sell products.
Why? Because there is money to be made. There is prosperity to achieve.
Our American Dream. At all costs.
But with enough exposure to the television, to social media and blogs and online advertising, reality and the perception of reality start to blur.
Who are we really, versus what our vendors want us to be? What our employers want to be? What our naysayers want us to be?
Have I become a shell of myself, because I am brainwashed by the fast pace of life, the stress of work, the person others want me to be?
Some may say this is a pessimistic view. I often argue with my husband that what one person observes as pessimism might appear to another person (like me) as realism.
No, I do not believe that just because I’m a good person, I will not have to be on high alert for the pollution around me, whether it be by way of judgment, coercion, or just plain repetition.
I spot several bullies around me, both in my personal and professional life.
And you’ve heard me say it, over and over, I am someone that gets pushed around.
But I’m letting myself get pushed around, because I am letting toxic people get to me, and I am letting others’ messages allow me to question who I am.
I am fine the way I am.
I need to keep repeating that.
There is too much talk, too many opinions. Everything is racing past me like comets in my peripheral vision.
It’s all too fast.
I need more quiet. More nature. More writing, more exercise, more love and hugs.
It’s not going to make life any easier, but I’m glad I’m starting to understand that what everyone else does is mostly about them.
Yes, there are great people in the world, and they are all around me too.
But there are also bad influences.
Being realistic about that, and being more in tune to what I need from myself, are crucial as I continue to navigate what I am now calling the “second phase” of my life.