Do you seek harmony – or the good – especially in your relationships? Many of us, especially HSP’s do.
If I examine my experience, I notice how often I feel an inner pull towards the good and working with others. Working with seems natural. Working against does not. Working with feels good; working against does not.
Our Early Need For The Good
As children we need to harmonize with our social group – in particular, our parents and family – because it is a matter of life and death. We also have an instinctive awareness and need for the goodness in ourselves and in others to be real.
We are all born with a naturally open and trusting attitude toward the world. Our trust is our psychological safety. Therefore, when we are treated poorly, we maintain the “trust” by assuming, often with encouragement from our caretakers, that the defect lies with us. When our need for a caring, encouraging and supportive environment is challenged in childhood, a young person is often made to believe that their expectation and values are problematic or wrong. I certainly was.
Too often we are taught that the good in the world and ourselves is a scarce commodity which sets up the power over others dynamic that creates the struggle and misery called reality. It turns the “bad” into something abundant and dependable and the good into something that cannot be trusted and something scarce. Even worse, the abundant good becomes something we are expected to earn. Reality becomes a form of misery and our wires get crossed.
The Frame Of Reality
Perceptions about reality are passed from one generation to the next. In good faith, we often take our attitudinal “gift” as gospel. It is, however, our job as alive, aware beings to continually challenge our assumptions. We are, after all, stewards of our lives and the world we live in. And the world is continually changing.
I suspect that the negativity that we are born into was, in fact, valid at one point in human history. The ancient memory system in our brain, however, does not get updated. Once it has received the imprint of “reality” it becomes a kind of know-it-all about life, our point of reference and our frame of reference. The same was also true of our ancestors, near and far.
And we see our caretakers struggling for the good and we assume they can’t be wrong. We are rewarded for our struggles and even learn that not to struggle means there is something wrong with us. Unnaturally easy becomes uncomfortable.
A Pat On The Back
So what happens when as children we need to align with our caretakers and we need to align with the prevailing view that the good in the world is undependable? Doesn’t that teach us not to trust ourselves and each other? For the sake of our psychological safety and maintaining our necessary dependency do we give up on ourselves? When we reach for the good in ourselves do we consider it a fluke? Do we have the courage to disagree and refuse to go along? By the time we are adults have we forgotten how?
There is no question that the history of human life has been a challenging one. To make human life possible, to survive as a species has required a huge effort. So when I see so much negativity around me I can’t help but wonder if we are aware of how far we have come, and how maybe it is about time that we give ourselves and each other some credit. Perhaps we can then let go of some of the struggles and find the cooperation and harmony that we yearn for.
So, fellow humans, here’s a pat on the back! We have done well to get this far.
Who knows, maybe in recognizing the good more, we can relax a little bit and feel safer as well.