Obligation vs. Love
To continue my diatribe regarding 'societal standards' I want to address the issue of "Obligatory Relations".
So often are we made to feel we "must" do this or we "must not" say that. We must, we must, we must. And in this world of "we must", often follows feelings of guilt when "we didn't do", feelings of angst or anxiety when "we should do" and never a feeling of serene peace because... WE DON'T HAVE TO.
THIS. IS. YOUR. LIFE.
No one has to feel what you feel but you. So, why allow an outside source tell you 'right' from 'wrong'? Why? ...because... "It's always been this way." (Forgive my ignorance but I still don't understand. Society wants us to remove any hopes of evolving?) If Benjamin Franklin adhered to Society's Standards and took offense when people laughed at the "crazy man standing in a lightening storm flying a kite" we wouldn't have electricity. Don't get me wrong I realize that laws must be in place to protect innocence. I'm talking about day to day, mundane, societal-conditioned obligations.
My suggestion to bring inner awareness comes from an author I revere greatly:
"Don't believe me. Don't believe yourself. And, don't believe anybody else." - don Miguel Ruiz
If I say, "You should...", "You need to...", "You have to...", DON'T BELIEVE ME. If after not believing me you still agree and WANT to do so, then by all means, your intuition (not your thinking brain) knows best.
Which brings me to my second point:
If your thinking brain (which is your programming and therefore NOT YOU) says, "You should...", "You need to...", "You have to...", DON'T BELIEVE IT. If after not believing it you still agree and WANT to do so then by all means, your intuition knows best.
If someone says, "You should...", "You need to...", "You have to...", DON'T BELIEVE THEM. If after not believing them you still agree and WANT to do so then by all means, your intuition knows best.
This simple method will begin you on a path towards discerning the difference between acting from love (a place from where peace, happiness, warmth, joy and all positive feelings come) or fear (a place from where guilt, anger, sadness, shame, anguish and all negative feelings come).
This discernment is important in pushing you towards the next step: full acceptance of self. Only after you know what your self wants can you then invite acceptance. What you want are the choices which you discerned to have come from love. The other actions can easily be distinguished as those of societal, cultural or 'outside' conditioning which you DO NOT HAVE TO OBEY.
Once you reach this place you will be acutely aware of who 'your people' (those who naturally enjoy what you naturally enjoy) are and I suggest you "go where the love is". The key to doing this well is upfront honesty.
"I love you, but I do not have to like you right now."
You have every right to spend your time (that belongs to you) with those who you enjoy. I believe we have two types of family: Blood Family and Spiritual Family. The first often brings test and trials which cause much growth through one's lifetime and the second bring a place of rest from those tests. Many times multiple members of one's Blood Family will double as their Spiritual Family. These situations are ideal but don't always promote as much growth as the members who are there to challenge us.
So embrace all of the above, BUT do so as YOU desire. Do not be swayed by friends or other family or society when it comes to making YOUR life decisions. A nice way of letting 'advisors' know you disagree is by saying:
"That is reeeeeealllllllly great advice - I'm not gonna take it."
(Lol/JK That is an inside joke between me and my soul sister Ally)
What I was actually going to say requires a delivery with loving and kind firmness:
"I appreciate your take on this. Will you be there to share the anxiety and the drama too or does your advice stop here?"
I am willing to bet the advice-givers will back off immensely when they realize, by actually taking into account, that this ...is personal. And it ONLY involves you and the other person(s) concerned.
Basically, at the end of the day, you're the one who lives your life and whereas it isn't easy to stand up to and disagree with standards set by society for millennia, it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for your inner peace.
I am so blessed to have beautiful beings within my Blood Family and my Spiritual Family, but that doesn't mean that we all see eye-to-eye. So it's important for me to love from afar and from up close as I see fit.
During the Holidays we are often overwhelmed with love right up until we collide with "that one person" and then we easily lose our happy cheer. I encourage you this holiday and always to be vocal. Remember:
"In your growth, do not be afraid of evoking anger in other people. Anger is only a manifestation of their insecurity. But fearing this anger can hold you back. Anger would be merely stupid if it didn't create so much grief. Dissolve your own anger in love and forgiveness." - Dr. Brian Weiss