One important step in achieving resilience is to make sure that your thoughts are actually your own. This sounds simple enough but it can be quite difficult when “doing battle” with those who wish to coerce you.
If your opinions are actually regurgitations of someone elses prejudices you will be easily influenced. And if you can be easily influenced rest assured that you will be influenced, or in another word, coerced. The “influencers” of the world, by whom I mean marketers, businesses and politicians spend a LOT of time and energy studying the psychology of influence. They train for years to figure out how to influence people without them knowing they are being influenced. They design experiments to test their hypothesis. They practice and practice until they are masters at it.
How much time have you spent studying these techniques? If it is less than they have, you are at a serious disadvantage. Your opinions may really just be the disguised opinions of others, whether you know it or not. If this is true then you will never be able to accurately evaluate a situation for what it really is. You will not be able to correctly assess what is best for YOU, and this is crucial in this rapidly changing world.
So how do we do it? How do we compete against the masters of influence? Well besides the obvious answer of “spend less time in front of a screen” there is one really great trick.
Learn to separate observation from evaluation.
Indian philosopher Krishnamurti stated that observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence, which might sound strange until you dive into the subject. Unless trained otherwise, we constantly blend observation with evaluation. We say “He is dumb” instead of “He got a 46 on his math quiz” or “She is pretty” Instead of “Her looks are very appealing to me.” In order to take control of our lives we will be well served by separating out the facts from the opinions, even when they are our own opinions. By separating the observation from the evaluation we will be more aware of what our opinions are and perhaps how our opinions have been influenced. By doing this we will shed light on our own prejudices. This can be hard to do but by bringing an awareness to the possibility of separating the two we can take the first step to changing.
We need to do this ourselves. We can’t count on the schools for help. Moralistic and opinionated communication has been around for a long time and is actually very helpful for the elite. Our entire language system has developed in such a way that it makes it easier for us to be ruled.
Psychologist Marshall Rosenberg states “It would be in the interest of kings, czars, nobles and so forth that the masses be educated in a way that renders them slavelike in mentality….the more people are trained to think in terms of moralistic judgments that imply wrongness and badness the more they are being trained to look outside themselves -to outside authorities- for the definition of what constitutes right, wrong, good and bad.”
It’s easy to see how we could be coerced if we are looking to “outside authorities” for definitions of right and wrong. To me it is also quite scary the lengths that people will go to to influence us. The schools were not devised to create a population of free thinking individuals, quite the opposite actually, so this is something you will have to do yourself.
But don’t let me influence you! Take a little time to think about it yourself. Think about what is important to you. Don’t look to “outside authorities” for how you should feel. Look to yourself.
And have a great day (if you want to)