On the Eve of Valentine’s Day, I sat and reflected.
I had endured weeks of Valentine’s merchandise overkill, as you have, in most shops you walked into.
As I looked at these gifts, I just didn’t get the feeling of love, but more of bullying and manipulation to buy ‘stuff’. It lacked class, culture and yes, love.
My key question has been: How can anyone buy love?

I grew up with materialism being bartered for love. It left me empty, confused and alienated.
I rebelled from a young age against the status quo and conditioning of this. The world looked like some giant circus with so many facades, lies and deception. People pleasing and blatant denial of the truth, when it was so obvious, drove me almost insane. Think back to Hans Christian Andersen’s story of ‘The emperor’s new clothes’.
A story I relish!
Nothing replaces love, kindness and genuine human connection. It took me decades to work this out. Today I have such human appreciation for the love I have within and from those around me. Not as a partner, but friends, work colleagues and even acquaintances.

My parents were not able to show or give love in its true sense, to me. The closest to love I got, was through attention and that came from giving into their sexual demands, achieving in sport or the arts and pleasing them as they wished.
My understanding of love was severely tainted from a young age. The language of love, as I saw it, was in the form of manipulation and blackmail.
I always looked outside of myself for validation, approval and love. I searched for close to 50 years for it. Always looking for someone to fulfill and complete me. Looking for my other ‘perfect half’.
It was a rather ‘rude awakening’, when I realized it was not the truth, and that all it did was set me up for constant disappointment and resentment. A search with no fulfillment or end in sight.

I spent 3 years in a sabbatical to work out who I truly was and to gradually undo all these decades of conditioning that I had been put through.
At the start of this journey, I had no idea who I was. I was lost, confused and trapped in a ‘prison’ that I had created. My life had ceased to make any sense and I was literally scrambling around to make sense of the mess I found myself in. I dreaded each morning, and each day felt more like some kind of hell that I had to navigate through.
I had to unlearn all I was ever taught, as my life crashed in order to find the truth of who I was.
Others opinions and perceptions had clouded the truth of who I was. My identity had been lost.

I had rebelled against every rule and attempt to control or change me, but the voices of those around me eventually got the better of me, especially in my formative years.
The very people I had looked up to, whether parents, teachers, coaches and other adults, had not allowed me to explore my own identity and uniqueness, but suppressed it with their own desires and opinions of how my life, in their mind, should look. I was literally being moulded into their limited thinking of what an ‘ideal’ person should be. Never ever considering my unique, special gifts and the abilities I had. I was their puppet and I was under their control.

Eventually they had beaten every part of my own voice out of me. I just couldn’t fight against their voices that unceasingly broke and wore me down. Whatever potential and ability I had, had been stripped away and I was left with nothing other than being someone I was not.
I protected myself with masks and layers, in order to conceal the most vulnerable, sacred parts of myself, so I could survive. Never living my life, but living in the shoes of others.
Eventually my own voice and life force was so silenced and weak. As strong as I was, I had no chance against this mass of constant conditioning and pressure to conform.
As a child, one is brought up seeking approval from your parents, teachers and other ‘role models’.

What does every human want more than anything else? Approval, love, acceptance, recognition and acknowledgement.
And so one seeks this at any cost, even if it means betraying oneself and denying your own truth. This is where people pleasing begins. Being alienated, ostracized and judged, is just too painful to bear. How can one handle this at such a young age? One cannot, the pressure to conform and fit in to the status quo, is just too big.
So bit by bit your truth is eroded and you are left empty, lacking self-worth and without any idea of who you are. There is nothing more scary or overwhelming than being stuck in a ‘reality’ that is not YOU! A box you have allowed yourself to be squashed into so as to make others feel comfortable and pleased.
The masses want people to conform and to be conveniently labelled and boxed, so that their level of comfort, is limited.

You cannot control anyone who thinks freely and lives an unlimited life. It is said that a free thinker and change maker are the most dangerous people to the masses, for they march to their own drum beat. They sing their own unique song. You don’t know what to expect next from them as they constantly charter unknown wild waters with huge discoveries and mind-blowing revelations. This scares most.

As Steve Jobs wrote,
‘Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, WE SEE GENIUS!
Because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do!!’

Sheeple (people who are part of societies conditioned flock and mindset), are threatened by free thinkers and people with no limits. It challenges their safety and comfort zones. Their fear drives them to protect their illusionary existence at any cost. They want everyone else around them to play the game, tow the line and not show up their façades. The worst part, is that they have started to believe in it so strongly and they see it as ‘normal and acceptable’.
They are so conditioned that they have lost their own identity and truth. They have betrayed themselves. They are mere puppets and people pleasers to what has been indoctrinated and brain-washed into them. Never asking pertinent questions or challenging the status quo. Too terrified of falling out of favour and been seen in a negative light. They rather suppress their own opinions, desires and thoughts, than stand out from the crowd and masses.

As it has been said ‘nothing great grows from comfort zones’. You will never reach your potential while playing societies game, by being a puppet or a ‘sheeple’ and living in a limited way in your own cosy box, you will not live out your own life purpose. You are bogged down by others demands and expectations and limiting yourself by not taking a stand and being your own person.
What do humans fear the most…. change!
So they allow themselves to be boxed and chained into relationships, even if dysfunctional, religion, material possessions, jobs, labels, sexuality, gender and race etc. It gives them a sense of security, even though it is false. They are living a lie which most will take to their death bed. Never daring to be courageous and stand away from the crowd with their own unique voice and adding to diversity in this world.

You are here to grow and evolve in the most profound way, perhaps even to make an impact in this world. But, will you rise to this challenge or play small and stay in your box, never knowing your truth?