In a sick world, wellness is a threat to the status quo. If you live in a family where people drink heavily, sobriety challenges the family to quit. If you live in a nation that worships money, focusing on spirituality or social activism challenges others to notice their own distorted values. If you live in a world where competition predominates, cooperation challenges the belief that competition is the only way to relate in a dog-eat-dog world. And if you live in a society where women are geared to be mothers and men are geared to fight, to feel and behave differently could be considered downright unnatural.
People don't like to be challenged to think or to make choices different from those they are raised to make. There is a perverse comfort in conforming to the norm, even if the norm is sick or self-destructive. Conformity gives you social approval and a sense of belonging. Nonconformity puts you outside the tribe and makes others uncomfortable. Conformity suggests that the world is right. Nonconformity suggests that the world is wrong, or at least could be wrong for you, and that often elicits anger and resistance.
For example, if you have been dominated by an angry, authoritarian or manipulative parent, standing up to him or her would shake up the order of things and demonstrate to others that authority can be successfully challenged. What does that say about the ones who are not challenging authority? Your action makes them look at themselves and notice their lack of courage. Sometimes your stand will be applauded by those who wished they had the guts to do the same. But often you will be criticized for being angry, defiant, ungrateful, aggressive, whatever label can be thrown at you for challenging the status quo and demonstrating that acquiescence is not the only way to handle authority figures.
Sometimes the consequence of nonconformity is grudging admiration. Sometimes it's ostracism. Sometimes it's worse. You could be ex-communicated from religious organizations, shunned from social groups or even imprisoned or killed for behaviors that deviate from what others accept as the way it is or the way it should be.
With these kinds of consequences, no wonder we blind ourselves to what we see and know! With these kinds of consequences, no wonder many of us prefer to pretend we believe and accept the traditions of our family, nation, world or society, rather than acknowledge that they sicken or appall us, or at least that they aren't a fit for us.
It is revolutionary to stop behaviors that are accepted as normal by others, but which don't work or are destructive. And so anything you do that contributes to that revolution can be threatening to your sense of safety. That includes personal healing. Doing deep therapeutic work often entails revealing family secrets and/ or breaking the unconscious family or social agreements that pattern our lives. When we take the step of healing, relationships based on blood, love or dependence may be threatened. Your mate might not like your new freedom and self-expression. Your boss might not like your self-assertion. Your friends might not like your new self-honesty. Your social or religious community might not like your awareness and discernment. You may find yourself alone.
Don't stop healing. When you take those first steps toward wellness, you may feel the reverberations from your clan -- whether it be family, friends, religious group, gang or corporate culture. You may want to run from what you're learning. You may question your process or doubt your realizations, never even realizing that your questions are coming from the unconscious pressure of those around you, never even realizing that your doubt is coming from the fear that if you continue to heal, you will be alone, abandoned, rejected or even attacked by those who are still engaged in the lies, self-deception and destructive behaviors others consider normal.
To have a healthy world, we need healthy individuals, individuals who are free from the fear and collective prejudices underlying much of the attitudes and behavior that are customary in our world. Such people will feel free to question everything and make new choices. Such people will challenge the tyranny of what is considered normal, but is really destructive. Such people will overcome their addictions, tell themselves and others the truth, act from conviction, rather than fear and self-protection, and begin to feel the liberation of wellness. Such people will help others do the same.
Notwithstanding all the pressures to give up, dare to heal. Confront your demons and clear the traumas of the past. Stand up to your personal fear, as well the world's fear of breaking out of traditions and norms that do not serve the highest good. Extend a supportive hand to others who also need to heal.
Healing is a revolutionary act in a world built on negative programming. But we are not alone. Let's come together to support one another. Let's come together and support the Inner Revolution!
Beth Green is the founder of TheInnerRevolution.org, a community dedicated to healing ourselves and healing our world. She is a spiritual teacher, host of a radio show, InsideOut: The Inner Revolution, the creator of Beth Green TV, her YouTube channel, and the author of five books, including Living with Reality, which is available as a free PDF through her website. The founder of the Beth Green School of Intuitive Counseling, Beth is also available for private individual healing sessions. For more details, go to her website, www.bethgreen.org.