Animals are wonderfully direct. They see good, they act on goodness and all is well. If you are good for them they will let you know how much they appreciate you. There is no conflict.
Humans and their desire for control complicate many social interactions and personal choices. As a result, many people feel conflicted when making choices about their lives. They learned that choices have social consequences when others do not like them. As a result, we engage in a lot of strategy and tactical maneuvers to survive. This is one way we have been taught to get in our own way, by trying to get along with others who may not necessarily have our thriving in mind.
I have seen repeatedly how the desire for friendship and harmony can make life difficult when those values are not shared.
What can we do to change this?
Distinguish Between Surviving And Thriving
Survival has been the story of the human race for thousands of years out of necessity. Authoritarian cultures have held sway over human life for most of our existence, defining our primary interest as security. It makes sense to a point. However, since we have survived as a species, we must change our narrative and focus on cultivating a healthier world. The authoritarian world is not so excited about this.
In essence, the costs (trillions) of the survival story are now preventing us from fully engaging with ecological and other issues that support our thriving. These two themes or purposes are on a collision course and we need to now put the thriving narrative first. It will actually have survival benefits as well.
The more we address our thriving needs (health etc.), the easier survival becomes.
Get A Handle On Strokes
We train people with strokes.
Pleasant strokes are approval. Unpleasant strokes signal a perceived mistake on our part. Our world is drowning in constant strokes of one kind or another through advertising, social media, and direct interactions. It is too much, and the negativity in much of it brings people down and affects their mental health. Those who want to control others can benefit from this intense negativity, but as individuals, we need to get a handle on these strokes and their agendas.
Strokes are a product of a fear-based world. They can be manipulative and dishonest. If we are creating a world based on joy, we have less of a need for the manipulative stroking of the fear-based world. So shifting your intention, focus, and action to joy, helps us disconnect from the messages and strokes meant to control us. We then can claim our personal sovereignty in a way not available otherwise.
Strokes Are About Boundaries – Often The Wrong Ones.
When we get strokes, we are being told what will or will not be accepted. These strokes are often based on old ideas which may or may not have been relevant in the past but are often not appropriate today. Much approval/disapproval stroking is not present to the realities at the moment. They are often just an expression of bias or a demand to be catered to.
It is important to take strokes with a grain of salt. It also helps to notice the kinds of strokes someone gives or doesn’t give. You can learn a lot about someone that way. You can let joy inform you about what is healthy or unhealthy stroking. Because joy is an expansive and health-creating energy. let it help you.
Joy Invites Healthy Stroking
Joy, by its very nature, is friendly and constructive. it is interested in the common good. Therefore, it releases manipulative stroking because the negativity of it gets in the way of thriving. It is not needed.
In essence, joy can help us simplify our lives by helping us take back our energy from those manipulating us against our own interests. That is an important role that joy offers us. Not only will we thrive more, but we can also protect ourselves from more exploitative forces around us.
Many of not most of us have experienced the negative effects of manipulative stroking and the inner pain from feeling unseen and unloved as a result. Let joy help you reclaim your joy by helping you let go of these old and unloving messages and ways. make it a gift you give yourself.