Are you living in your own paradise, but feel as if you’re lost on a deserted island longing to get to the “real” world? Have you reached a great destination in your life, but just can’t see it because your attention is always being drawn to the horizon, not to the beauty of the ground under your feet? Specifically, would you be happy where you are in your life if there weren’t so many media and social messages trying to convince you that you shouldn’t be?
Have you considered that you can’t see how happy you are, because the economy and all its players–manufacturers, service providers, retailers, Internet social networks, advertisers–need you to be unhappy to survive?
Everywhere you turn there are messages telling you to not be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you have. There’s a better job, better home, better car, better clothes, better friends, better way to eat, better way to exercise, better way to parent, better way to have sex, better whatever than what you have now, and you had better buy this, do that, throw out the old, bring in the new, again and again and again. It’s all in the name of being the best you that you can be, but exactly who is deciding what that is?
There’s a difference between wanting to change and being pressured to change. Have you felt the growing mob mentality that you must always be changing, improving, replacing, enhancing, and if you’re not, then you’re going to be left behind? It’s as if we all live with this vague sense of anxiety, as if the world is going to spin past and leave you in the dust if you’re not forever at the cutting edge of everything–beauty products, fashion, cars, computer programs, education, you name it.
You can most easily appreciate this when you consider the rapid advancement in technology. There’s always the next evolution of smart phone, tablet, computer, entertainment system, or whatever. As soon as you learn one system, a new and better one appears. You’d like to avoid being a slave to each and every new gadget, but the changes come so fast, if you wait too long, you’ll end up too far behind to catch up. This is a very real threat, as anyone over 50 can tell you. The “youth” culture is being worshipped not for their intelligence or profound insights, but because they can most readily adapt to rapid changes, so they are the most easily persuaded to spend their money to perpetuate our disposable society. But this doesn’t stop at technology. It’s invaded where and how you live, bled into every part of your life, and the economy depends on it. That doesn’t mean you have to fall for it, though.
Content people are difficult to manipulate. If you can’t manipulate people, you can’t control their behaviors, and if you can’t control their behaviors, you can’t increase sales. Those of you who feel you have what you want and need don’t spend near as much money on “stuff” than those who are constantly trying to keep up with every emerging trend. Content people also don’t religiously tune in to talk, cable theme, and news magazine shows to stay abreast of the latest trends in medical and health news, parenting styles, clothing styles, diet and exercise regimes, car trends, dating adventures, or any of the countless other information resources filling up our cable or dish channel box. Even programs that don’t specifically try to hack a product or service still rely on drawing in viewers with sensational “breaking news” you’ve just got to know, so they can continue to ramp up the revenue they collect from their advertisers.
As much as there is this flood of positive messages “encouraging” you to improve yourself and your life, there is this subtle backlash against those who aren’t striving to improve. In our culture of discontent, it’s become a bad thing to be okay with where and who you are. We are breeding a culture of judgment–judging each other and ourselves, again and again, but the competition is rigged. We’re destined to fall short, unless we sign on to whatever we’re told we just must be a part of, winning acceptance that lasts only until the next critical trends pops up a few minutes later.
If you’re feeling unhappy or discontent with yourself or your life, are you sure it’s how you really feel, versus how outside influences are trying to make you feel as they use you for their own benefit? How much discontent comes from within and how much is put upon you? Are you on the treadmill of searching for answers to questions about your life that you would never even be asking if not for someone, somewhere, trying to earn a buck off of you?
Sort out the manipulation from the truth about what’s good in your life right now, and you may find that you like the view just fine from right where you are, right as you are.