Man is a social animal. Now, whether man is an animal or not is a latter concern, but in this post, we will talk about man and his need for society.
Man cannot live in isolation. I and other people like me (Billy, et cetera et cetera) would argue that we absolutely can because we love our own company; the truth is – we cannot. Our deep fundamental need is to associate – at least to some degree. Isolation brings us some comforts but associating brings its own privileges one cannot deny.
Why does man associate? One of the many answers is – this is the manner of human beings’ being human. In simpler words, many crucial answers follow:
Where we have come from: An individual is a link in the chain of generations. The affairs of his living are regulated not only by himself but also by generational and societal standards. It is oftentimes the society that carries the individual like a river carrying a boat, rather than the other way around.
Who we are: The definition of who we are is always laid in relational terms. The father of the brother of the cousin of the aunt’s little daughter’s neighbor’s distant relative may also be a person we know. That is also how some know us. There is no Napoleon Bonaparte without the French Revolution.
What we toil for: It should not come as a surprise that the only thing secondary to existing that we toil for is society. We want to associate, and be recognized, accepted, validated, wanted, and in that order, cherished – therefore we turn mountains upside down. We do things that add value to us because we want to be valued.
Valued by who, Billy? Ourselves? (He still won’t let the I’m self-sufficient argument down!) Why would we do so much to feel valued in our own eyes? Can we not just accept ourselves and love ourselves the way we are? What is it that we see when we look into the mirror which cannot be valued for its own being’s sake? The truth is – we see ourselves from the eyes of others. We feel valued when others around us value us.
A friend once told me that my teeth are absurd and I should see a dentist and perhaps get it reframed. For the next couple of days, I spent time looking in the mirror at my teeth, feeling inadequate, laughing less often, and mentally cursing the ghost-of-Ashmi-past for not noticing this problem at an earlier stage. It did not take much time until I realized that my skin is trashy too and my nail and the crows-feet under my eyes; and all fine details of my trashy-ness rose to the surface. For us, such problems get resolved because we remind ourselves we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and trash starts to look good again, but other humans carry these invalidities from fellow humans to grave (and dentists!).
We operate within relationships. How our parents and siblings treat us sets the tone for whether we will tolerate crap from others at school. Our school experience sets the tone for the overall development of our beings which we carry to colleges and universities. Crap-takers take crap at colleges too, and then at workplaces and cafes and bars – there’s no stopping. In fact, crap-takers demand crap. It all begins at home. For them who are valued at home, life is a lap-dance. They ain’t taking crap from no one even if they are crap-collectors.
The interesting phenomena of “daddy-issues” is wonderfully set to stage in TV sitcom – How I met your mother! Barney – the “sleep” enthusiast knows explicitly that women who carry daddy-issues from childhood have little standards and are more likely to fall prey to his late-night bar pranks and get into bed with him without him having to call them the next day. He’s not even kidding! This is the most real of all his “theories”! Children with issues at home have little standards whatsoever for all – relationships? – in life.
Such – relationships? – do more than long-term harm to people. They who are not validated at home seek validation everywhere else, especially in romantic relationships. These “relationships” don’t sustain. A relationship is something more enormous than our own beings. In our brokenness, we cannot aim for fulfilling relationships. We do not have what it takes to nourish them and keep them going – the love, peace, patience, yada yada. Our invalidated selves are impatient; we cannot provide patience.
Unfulfilling relationships contribute majorly to our state of brokenness. We seek fulfillment, and are disappointed. We carry these disappointments into depression. Believe it or not – our state of broken selves and broken relationships are at the root of most cases of depression in the world. Take anybody’s case and dissect it, and at the very core, you will find a violent parent, an abusive sibling or a treacherous lover. They sit there – angry and hurting – forever, taking away from us any scope of healing.
People of the world,
Handle your relationships with utmost care. They make and break lives. They define who you are – they define who somebody else is.
In your brokenness, do not seek validation and pleasure, you’ll always reach out for the very wrong type.
Seek healing – for yourselves, your families, for all your relationships. Reconstruct them. Reach out first. Bear with one another.
Dear girls-with-daddy-issues and men-with-mama-issues, DO NOT DATE unless you’ve worked yourself out of your brokenness. It will only break you more.
It is up to man to prove he’s not animal but something higher. An animal cannot rethink its thoughts and mend its LIFE. In fact, it does not have a LIFE, but a life. Are we living LIFE or life is up to us.
We can all start today!
All images from this lovely Facebook page: Labyrinths