What does growing a vagina have to do with joy & creativity, you might ask...
Well, here' s a snapshot of the uncreative things many of us have done due to our weakness in the face of social pressure:
1. Picked up a cigarette for the first time because we wanted to look cool;
2. Gone on unhealthy fad diets striving to attain the impossible image that media reflects at us (here's a good article to read on self-image if this is you now);
3. _________ Insert one of your own here.
We can even go to the saddest places like the amount of teenage suicides amongst the LGBT community due to 'not fitting in'.
So what makes social pressure so powerful?
Mostly, it's our need to be liked, cherished, and understood which is a wonderful social trait.
However, when we start living our lives in order to gain society's approval rather than living according to our deepest instinctual values, that's a recipe for chronic dissatisfaction. (IMHO)
Or, absence of joy.
What's scarier is when that voice of our values begins to drown completely in other people’s opinions and advice.
Here's the good news:
To withstand other people’s influence and make the right decisions in life, we need to build a strong foundation. We need to know what brings us joy & satisfaction as opposed to what we can do to pacify other chronically dissatisfied people who are apt to judge our every action.
When we meet people & make friends, instead of asking superficial status questions like "What do you do for a living?", perhaps we should focus on questions that really matter, like:
What do you believe in? What are your values?
The earlier we all get this clarity & know exactly where we all stand the better.
Sometimes in order to improve our life we have to do something unexpected or even irrational that we know other people may not support.
(incidentally at the root of many creative breakthroughs)
No matter how strange your ideas or actions may seem to some people, there will always be someone who understands and shares your point of view.
In creative pursuits, for example, I have my writers' group to turn to & I know I can always count on them to encourage and support me.
But what about our families?
I think the best way to avoid judgement from the people that you love is to show them that you respect and value their values (while making it clear that you have your own).
I try to be the person that they will turn to when they need support & acceptance. My personal experience is that this simple act is reciprocated.
Dealing with social pressure isn't easy, but living according to someone else’s expectations is a lost game - even if we did succeed at pleasing others it would be at the cost of our own happiness and well-being.
So go ahead & grow a vagina!
As Dr. Seuss wisely advises, those who love us would never want us to conform at the expense of our happiness. Those that would want that don't really love us.
Here's to BEING WHO WE ARE!
And to allow joy & creativity to suffuse our being!