Paraphrased in a nutshell, "Lifestyle" discusses the difficulty of changing, AND knowing what specifically TO change after deciding that one's lifestyle isn't satisfactory. I replied:
The older i get, the easier it is to see that "being authentic" and telling the truth kindly takes a lot of the stress and drama out of life. We try to be what our loved-ones want, as Nature designed us, and in the modern world that just does not work. ...and ya know, i just got the urge to make a full blog-post out of the topic. ;-) Thanks, Fred -- i hope your winter is going all right!Our parents begin by trying to make us the kids they want us to be -- not necessarily for our own good, but sometimes to be a prop in their Me-drama, or a servant, a little friend, a spoiled pet.... Then school gets hold of us, and we're subjects of more social-molding. We are expected to be good little automatons, learning exactly what we're meant to learn WHEN we're meant to learn it, sitting still, not talking without permission, our little bladders being trained at the same time along with our muscles -- which in CHILDREN are designed to be as active as our brains. It isn't long until our peers begin exerting influence upon us, demanding that we fit into their hierarchical clique-society, like chickens in a flock. Before we're half-grown, we are rigidly formatted to be what someone else thinks we should be, not to be ourselves.
Simple souls in simple societies may do well. They do what is expected of them, and are brainwashed to think that such is the ultimate good; raise a peaceful, hard-working family with a roof over its head and food on the table. Make the god happy by doing what the priest says, and you get to go to heaven. There was no hope of rising from the serf caste; God Himself put the king and the nobles in their positions of divine right. Ignorance (and the kind of dullness brought on by malnutrition) was carefully sequestered from the dangers of learning -- sometimes even the nobles couldn't read. Halleluia!
The Renaissance and Enlightenment eras really screwed that up. Ordinary people got access to books, and the world changed.
American and French revolutions gave farmers and laborers the highfalutin' idea that they were as good as everyone else, and that Everyman had a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, Nature and evolution still haven't changed our hunter-gatherer brains; we're still wired to belong to a tribe.
And our modern, over-size tribe wants us to fit in, dammit. Our teachers (official and otherwise) often want us to play a particular role in a society where there are an infinite number of very-different roles, DESPITE what role is most appropriate to the individual. Some people take the situation into their own hands and follow what they feel to be right for themselves, and some gentler souls try to play the assigned role despite the misfit.
Another infinitude of possible results ensues from each path, but i'm confident that in most cases, the latter group end up with the worst health outcomes. Frustration breeds illness, as modern science has clarified. Stress and self-medication are rampant in the world, and social-media* has revealed the breadth of it, as we are able to talk to people in all parts of the world and "see" things only the most intrepid of travelers could have, in previous times.
Which brings me back to my response to Fred's post: the experience of decades -- i.e., AGE -- has taught me that the best way to minimize stress is to refuse to play a role that isn't right for us, and to speak our truth without spite. When we try to woo friends by putting on a mask we think they'd like to see, we set ourselves up for disappointment. If they don't like who you ARE, they're not going to like you for the long haul -- divorce statistics prove this. When we tell people only what they want to hear, they will soon suspect that they're being lied-to, which kills a friendship. Of course, telling the truth of a malicious mind ends the friendship right there.
Minimizing our frustration and stress will minimize our need to self-medicate. When not trying to numb ourselves to our misery, we have a clearer mind to determine what SHOULD be done to improve our mental/emotional situation.
* it occurs to me to wonder if the whole low-fat debacle could have taken off if the internet had been there for us in the 1970s...?