We Consistently Pledge Allegiance to Expectations

The first time you probably pledged allegiance to anything was in your kindergarten class. You stood up, placed your hand across your heart and recited the paragraph. We did it because we were told to. In essence, there’s no real reason for a five-year-old to adopt this form of patriotism. None of us were planing any treasonous activity in between eating crayons and gummy bears.

This form of conditioning taught us to have undeniable loyalty to certain things: country, family, friends, jobs or anything really. We are expected to be loyal without a question and to a fault.

I’m sure you know a few people who could care less who they leave behind in their opportunistic quests. Others are simply presented with a choice. Self-preservation reminds us that people will almost always choose themselves over someone else. Loyalty in this condition is a faulty concept — it’s set up to fail.

Families are the first place to look for loyalty, yet that’s where the disappointment usually begins. They are structures made up of impressionable human beings — bonded by blood and strong cultural associations. We depend on our families for everything growing up and continue to seek that ‘protection’ into adulthood. The people we have around us as children are our first glimpse of how people interact in intimate settings. Blood is indeed thicker than water but it can easily be diluted by intention.

Friendships are extensions of the archetype of family bonds. A person literally adopts someone else into their life to serve as a secondary lifeline of support. Finding good friends is about as easy as picking a needle out of a haystack. You can give the most vulnerable parts of yourself to someone who has no real obligation to you. Bonds between people change as circumstances do. The same goes for romantic relationships and jobs, it’s all consumerism.

The exchange of needs, wants and desires between two people or a person and a bottom line. The truth is we all use each other for completely selfish reasons: money, companionship or goals. Through these exchanges, loyalty is the best way to keep the connection going. The brain is saying, I want this happiness to continue or I need this stream of income to continue so I will do what I have to do to keep it in my life.

We adapt and change accordingly to make this happen. By doing so we want the best outcome possible. The expectation is that we will be rewarded for all of our dedication and hard work. The time invested in a person or thing will eventually pay off until it doesn’t. Family bonds do break, relationships end, friends become strangers and people lose their jobs every day.

That’s just the way it can play out. Should that deter loyalty in the next opportunity that presents itself? No. Loyalty is an admirable trait and should be treated as such. Experience teaches us to be mindful in dealing with others and to adjust our expectation levels to coincide with reality.

The post first appeared on Medium

Are You One Dimensional?

When meeting someone new, how long does it take for you to decide whether or not you want to know more about them? Five, ten or even twenty minutes? First impressions count for reasons we may not want to admit; interactions between people are highly superficial.

I am not positive if we are socialized this way or it’s instinctual. Maybe its some type of a desperate ode to the survival of the fittest. It is easy to get caught up in the semantics of it all. Who are you? What do you do? What have you done? Never realizing that we are weaponizing triumphs and failures against each other.

Learning these facts about someone else, aid in the stuffing of their entire existence into a category. Often times getting out of these assigned seats leaves someone subject to being criticized and even shamed. An example: celebrities have no place in contributing anything useful to society other than what their brand peddles.

One aspect of someone’s life is just that — one. Defining someone by arbitrary things and then punishing them when other parts are revealed, is too common. Reputations are built on this exact premise. One must exude perfection 24/7 without skipping a beat. We all have come to expect it.

The life of a person is made up of many complex factors. The different parts of you are allowed to live separately but in the same place. The pressure that we put on one another to uphold these ridiculous expectations is unrealistic.

I always find myself coming back to the line in the animated movie Shrek, where he tells Donkey that ‘ogres are made of layers’. Donkey misses the point completely but that line always resonated with me. Many times we’re so busy trying to sell our identities to people that we fool ourselves; falsely correlating to things that we aspire to be — not necessarily to who we are.

Then consequently, we apply the same rules to anyone who crosses our path. Are we buying what they are selling? If so, that’s the version of that must upheld. The cycle repeats and continues to breed superficiality. Society is robbing itself of deep and meaningful connections in the name of vanity.

This post originally appeared on Medium.

Follow Me

Follow me through the burning fire,

follow me through the blissful meadows,

follow me through to the electrical spark.

Follow me through the chapters of knowledge,

follow me through the writings of dark,

follow me to the passage of wisdom.

Follow me through the times that are uncertain,

follow me through the times of laughter,

follow me to the times of understanding.

Follow me through the pain of unrest,

follow me through the joys of tomorrow,

follow me through to a future abode.

Follow me through the rain of a lifetime,

follow me through the colors of the leaves,

follow me through to the sunlit path.

Follow me through the stages of growth,

follow me through the difficulty of changes,

follow me through to the shades of gray.

Follow me, I beg of you, why is my shadow..not behind me?

Tick Tock

The clock is always ticking…
counting our sins, and tallying up our prayers.

speeding through the light, and standing in the dark.

inviting new journeys, and leaving the old.

picking at our brains, and pulling at our feet.

The clock is always ticking…

exceeding our expectations, and comforting our doubt.

sealing the warped, and obstructing the view.

revealing self pity, and exploiting our fears.

branding our misfortunes, and calculating our demise.

The clock is always waiting for our time.

Success or Prosperity

What is success? What is prosperity?

A sense of belonging? A sense of pride? A sense of accomplishment?

A personal cry for the limits of your greatness, or is it a personal cry for the triumph of your limits?

How far can one go, to what lengths should we reach, or backs should we step on in the process?

Can success be achieved without the hurt of another? Will another have to fail for your conquer.

The reason why success is also confined by a line of repressed statues of resent.

The stone face of nay-sayers holding concrete buckets to catch your losses.

What is success?

The test of the power of the mind, or the minds test of power?

How far can one go, to secure an equal bracket, or obscure a known entity?

Can success be achieved solely off one determinant? Will another settle for your ambition.

The reason why success is met by a bucket of overvalued pity.

The face of the unknown will seldom come to surface.

What is prosperity?