We live in a culture of almost-but-not-good-enough.
We were raised to dramatize the bad and maximize the good. We were conditioned for being ultimately dissatisfied because the dreams we were given to idealize are inevitably elusive, and come at the cost of a kind of superiority-complex-laden-kind-of-success.
We were taught that there was no point at which we should be content. That the dissatisfaction we feel at present should, and could, only be remedied by hoping, planning and waiting for the future. Unfortunately, what we all eventually find is that we’re left perpetually waiting. Worse: we feel like failures if our big, bad American dreams don’t align with the ones painted for us.
So we see people from all walks of life dissatisfied. The grass is only greener because we don’t water it where we are. We were taught that normalcy is failure. We regard average as sub-par. We were taught to value things that are ultimately shallow and meaningless, but we cultivate such a passion for attaining them that we allow it to consume us and convince us that we actually do feel strongly about something that’s nothing but a mask.
We don’t choose love when we feel love, we choose love when we feel fireworks, because we want everything to be explosive. We want easy, we want available, we want incredible. We want remarkable but don’t want to work for it.
And the problem we’re left with is that we’re deluded and dissatisfied by what life really looks like. We stop acknowledging that we have jobs to make income, and that passion can and should be pursued, but ultimately, we aren’t failures for doing what we need to to get by. The dream we have is someone else’s happiness.
So we breed a culture of individual competitiveness. We lose sight of the fact that the ties that bind us are common to being human. We isolate ourselves as superior, and, in an effort to define people as other, we belittle and dismiss them. We choose not to raise ourselves up on our own merit, but rather in contrast to someone else’s shortcomings. We have ideals that aren’t based in goodness or equality, they’re based in superiority and conviction.
The grass seems greener when we’re better, when we’re superior, when we’ve won. But do we ever win? Can we ever win? It’s a never-ending cycle. Paradoxically, it’s in that cycle that we bring ourselves down too.
Because though we point fingers and strew unaccepting attitudes, all we really want is for other people to love and accept us, because the reason we adopt other people’s dreams is because we believe, somewhere, somehow, that they will lead to our satisfaction by the nature of wanting connectedness. That what makes other people happy could make us that way too. It’s really just a symptom of being conditioned to see ourselves so isolated independent from others, we forget that it’s an illusion at the end of the day.
We have to start realizing that contentment can only, and will only, come from processing whatever experiences we’re having with a different mindset and value assignment. If we constantly judge others to make ourselves feel better, we’ll never stop to realize that culture is a curated thing. What is given attention will grow, and the things that we give our attention to largely stem from the places in us we are trying to either heal or make up for.
The only way to change us as a whole is to change us as parts. And that starts with realizing that we’re connected in such a way that would allow for that exact manifestation. Right here, and right now.