Early Writings of Evan Bailyn

Returning To Who We Are

Posted by on Thursday, January 19th, 2012 with 0 comments

Every time we go out in public, we engage in a series of elaborate social scripts so that we can get along with other people. Pleasantries, formalities, and personal space conventions are all examples of automated behaviors that we exhibit because we seek approval from those around us. They are a common ground for us to stand on, a compromise of our natural inclinations for the sake of civility.

These learned behaviors are useful, of course; the world would be chaotic if everyone did whatever they wanted. Yet it seems to me that we have become oversocialized and lost touch with the fact that most of the time we are, in fact, acting. The proper place for etiquette is not our private lives. If we infuse our own minds with falseness, we lose the ability to understand ourselves.

As kids, we were all conditioned to act the way our parents thought was appropriate. We were given boundaries that we otherwise never would have observed. And along with the positive acquisitions such as saying “please” and “thank you,” were the negative acquisitions, traits that just didn’t fit us. Parents who meant to mold their children into something meaningful shaped them into people they are not. Gentle souls were made aggressive, creative minds were forced to think formulaically, and passionate spirits were dulled to docility.

Imposing learned traits on natural ones endangers our well-being. We tend to favor learned traits, since they often seem logically superior to our natural ones; yet our original impulses can never be thwarted, and the effort to go against the grain of our beings is always in vain. Often, we become confused and restless trying to reconcile what we’ve been taught with what we naturally know.

It would be nearly impossible to deprogram ourselves so that we could once again act the way we did as children. Sometimes I wish for a kind of mental decompression chamber – an inflatable yellow capsule like the moonwalkers they have at amusement parks, where people could jump up and down and scream and curse, mentally unburdening themselves of all of the energy they regularly repress. Something is needed to release people from the thousands of social conventions that bear down on them every day, to connect them – if even for a moment – with their original selves.

I believe that behavioral scripts were meant to function within a social context, not become absolute standards of conduct. No matter how hard we try, we are not the people we were taught to be. We are the way we were born and the way we have become through our own personal exploration – no more and no less.

Evan Bailyn is a serial entrepreneur, search engine and social media expert, celebrated author and child advocate. His company, First Page Sage, is a leader in search engine optimization and social media marketing - vastly increasing business for its clients through high SEO rankings, targeted Facebook advertising and viral videos. Evan is also the founder of the Evan Bailyn Foundation, a foundation dedicated to teaching emotional awareness to children and adults. 

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