BENEFITS OF NON-BELONGING
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 03, 2020
Experience of non-belonging can be expressed in many different ways. You might not be a member of a popular (school) group, a member of a religious group, you may even feel like a 'black sheet' of your own family. Whatever it was, that you wanted, but did not have an opportunity to be a part of, can be very painful, isolating often paired with a feeling of rejection. When you don't belong to a certain group that you want, it can also be more difficult to do things you want or wish to do. This increases the possibility of social isolation, leading to psychological and physiological illnesses.
However, not being part of a group, or staying more on your own, can have many benefits, too:
A group can not only limit our thinking and the way we express ourselves, it can also limit our physical movement. Being part of a group can mean, that you are not allowed to go to certain places, cities or even countries. Or you can not enjoy certain type of food, just because that is against the ideology of set group. It is true that some things can be good and beneficial for us but that should not mean we have to comply with set beliefs in order to live a good life.
Albert Camus, said: ”Every ideology is contrary to human psychology.”
It is very easy to limit ourselves if we agree with any ideological obedience.There are many groups we can join. from religious to motocycle ones... But what does this bring us? If we are a member of that group we speak as them, dress as them, think and do thing as the group. What are the benefits in this for us? Well, we do belong to the ggroup, we are surrounded with people with same or similar interests, characteristics and ideas. In a certain way there is a level of safety ensured. On the other hand, if we are not part of the group (whichever) we have more freedom to be who we actually are, to do things our own way and we have freedom to be around people we chose. We can express in a way that suits us completely and we can be authentic self. What we think can be free of any limitation of ideology. And this is real liberation. Paradoxically, this is what, at the end of the day, gives us freedom to be with and be part of the group which is our preferential choice.
In Buddhism exists an exercise called "loving kindness". This kindness doesn't choose, it's universal love towards all sentient beings. Very often, what is happening in the group, can be exact opposite of this. Appreciation is expressed towards the members of the group, but not to those who are not part of it (it can go as far as expression a real hostility). This is what we call "group choice" - which can be a very nice experience if you are part of the group, but not so nice if you are a former member or somebody rejected by the group. If you are not a member of the group, you don't get any support or/and approval, but also you don't need to reciprocate any of this to them. Actually, you have full freedom to give your love and support to anyone you like. Buddha says:« Just as a mother would protect her only child with her life, even so let one cultivate a boundless love towards all beings."
SELF-FULFILMENT INSTEAD OF CONFORMITY
Sigma male or female doesn't identify him/ her self with a special place in hierarchical order in the group. Instead s/he uses the same hierarchical structure in his/her benefit maintaining independence and autonomy. This is a person who chooses self realisation before comformity. And to be honest, both ways take some effort. It takes a lot of energy to conform to what the group makes as a norm. "Nobody realises that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." (Camus). We need others, to some extend - for example: everyone benefits from having a citizenship. We live in the country that provides services for our needs. It also gives us identity. We have to respect the law, comply with rules and habits of the public places, but being a part of it also allows us to choose freely how we organise our lives and what the values are, that we will pursue. Values that are important to us, as individuals.
Conformity is not always a bad thing. Many times is useful for simply practical reasons. However, instead of turning this type of belonging into something compulsory, we can invest the energy and effort into self realisation and personal growth and become a person who is true to him/her self. We save a lot of energy by simply being ourselves. We might sacrifice our spot in the "herd", but that does not necessarily mean we are socially isolated.
The benefit of non-belonging is freedom, less group dependence, ultimately leading to universal love and acceptance. Self-realisation before conformity.
In truth, it is priceless to be an individual who is truly authentic, ideologically uncorrupt and free thinking. Such individual can doubt anything and anyone, without any of the consequences. Although this path can sometimes be a little lonely and uncertain, the pleasure of non-belonging can be exhilarating priceless.