“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.” ~Thomas Szasz
As an American, I can say that we are trying to cling to our archetypes even though the picture of life is changing. There are many people suffering because they refuse to accept that their vision of the world is changing. As long as we cling to our stereotypes and deny the world that we are actively creating, we create suffering.
Marriage is changing. Gone are the fantasy of the 50’s housewife, wearing pearls while she vacuums the floor while fixing dinner and waiting for her husband and children to come home from work and school. I never knew that housewife and she hasn’t been around for years, but some men are still infatuated with her. The picture of marriage now is more of two people leaving in the morning in a harried state. Both people running around trying to get the children ready and out the door. Later, two exhausted people running into the house after a long day of work. One parent making sure the children do their homework while the other makes dinner. They try to spend some family time before putting the children to bed and collapsing in exhaust before going to bed to do it all again tomorrow.
Another scenario is that the man may now stay home with the children while his wife goes to work. Some families are finding that this works better for them. Layoffs in this country have sent women to work as the breadwinner and kept men home as the nurturer of the family. Some men have found that they enjoy spending time with their children which, in the past, the male presence wasn’t valued as necessary while it is extremely important in a child’s development and self-esteem. There is also more acceptance of co-parents if the parents aren’t together. This is when the new partner of the parent becomes apart of the familial picture and adds more nurturing to their family instead of being viewed as a threat. It’s more important to use our strengths and weaknesses to develop the family dynamic. Instead of clinging to archetypes, parents have to find a way to create a new normal that benefits their relationship with each other and a nurturing environment for their children.
You’ll notice that I said two people. Another change to marriage is that it is no longer just between a man and a woman. Sexuality has become more fluid in explaining how people respond to one another. The bedroom door has been opened and we are finding out that people have many ways of expressing their sexuality. Instead of pretending that we live in a world where men only crave women, we are starting to see that sexuality is not that simple. Our ignorance doesn’t stop it from happening, all it does is place guilt and denial in our own minds. This year has seen the passing of many gay marriage laws which means that marriage is possible for not only men and women.
Race has also come out of the closet. It has revealed people who still harbor many misconceptions and racist views while simultaneously showing that many people don’t consider race a factor as much. Some people still harbor hate towards our changing world, but, there are many more people who have simple indifference to it as a factor in their decision-making . The opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference. For many people, they are no longer considering race to be the highest driving factor in their decision-making, instead they are using more logical-thinking.
We are changing. We are slowly, collectively, focusing more on what really matters. I believe that you should make your own rules about how you live your life. If you try to keep yourself to rules that don’t fit you, you will live your life suffering. We are slowly changing the rules to meet our new acceptance of our differences and similarities as humans. Hate is still trying to hold on to some of us, but most of us are slowly finding acceptance. Our picture of love is changing. Love is not making you live the way that I want you to love. Love is accepting that I might not agree with your choices, but I love you and want to see you happy. And, in this day and time, love is starting to win again. If a nation can change, then anything is possible.
It [doesn’t matter] what you look like, where you come from, or what you do for a living. All that matters is that we continue to fan the flame of humanity by living our lives as the ultimate creative expression of who we really are. — Janine Shepherd