This morning I had an interesting conversation with your eldest brother. There was an infomercial about some cookware on the television. It had begun by espousing all the health dangers of the cookware that was very likely sitting in our kitchen, in a lot of kitchens all over the country. It could cause all manner of deadly conditions from birth defects and brain damage to the worst of the worst; cancer. It then went on to highlight the amazing ways in which food could be prepared using their cookware without inflicting these terrible things onto your loved ones. I explained to him that much of our marketing for consumerism is fear based. If your current frying pan was seen as a potential danger to your family, then they were offering the ultimate solution. With their cookware, you could be assured that your bacon and eggs weren’t going to kill anyone.
He nodded in agreement before a short silence. He then said to me “Mel, wouldn’t it be good if companies weren’t worried about making lots of money by selling things? Then they wouldn’t have to say those kinds of things to us”. I asked him why that was important to him. He looked up at me with his beautiful big blue eyes and said:
“I don’t know”.
He didn’t have to know why he felt that way, he just knew that he did. That was the wisdom of a 12 year old boy. His instinct was telling him that there is another way and indeed there is. When we are young we have a very finely tuned antennae to pick up lies and fear.
So children, without the mountains of conditioned behaviour and thinking still awaiting them, are still very much in touch with their instincts. I have observed your responses to various people. Some you are happy to have a babbling conversation with or even a cuddle. With others you are visibly cautious and quiet. You are sensing them, not with your eyes and ears, but with your inner guidance system. Some people you are drawn to, some people you will be repelled by. It will be this way throughout your whole life.
I want to create a foundation on which you will always seek this counsel first and not the idea of how you should be. Being true to yourself is better than being polite. Your honesty may well come across as rudeness to some. Being polite and being genuinely respectful of another are two very different things. Being polite is to show your good manners. To demonstrate that you have been brought up well by your parents by showing only the nicest side of yourself. It is all about the careful creation of how you are perceived by others. If you were to have a natural response that did not fit into the category of being well mannered and nice, you will be labelled rude. Rudeness is described amongst other things, as an act of ‘unrefinement’. I have witnessed plenty of occasions throughout life where politeness is the behavioural mode for being in public. In the privacy of home, where there are not the same judgements and perceptions, rudeness might be the only way to communicate.
Your authenticity is somewhere in between. It is a balance and it is how you feel about yourself. If you respect yourself you will be respectful of others, and not just putting on the mask of being polite. If you love yourself and trust yourself, you will have the confidence and conviction to be unwaveringly honest without the rudeness.
I don’t want to see you seeking to justify every feeling you have with logic, in an attempt to prove it. Your brother didn’t have a logical explanation as to why he would like to see a society which isn’t based on making the big bucks in exchange for the trickery of good marketing (my words, not his). He just knew that it didn’t feel right for him. That’s all he needs to know. That is all you need to know, what feels right for you.
So my wee Seamus, here is the interesting bit… Question everything. Question everything but do not seek the answer outside yourself. All the answers are within you. Even when you find it through an outside source, like a book or a conversation or even an infomercial, you will get the distinct feeling of rightness inside you. Then that is what is right, because it is right for you.
“There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.”