Social Conditioning and Guilt

Guilt is one of those insidious disabling emotions, that can sneak up when we least expect it. More often from social conditioning, rather than true unfairness. Much of this social conditioning happens without awareness, and many of us unknowingly spread it, through thoughtless judgments and comments.

Recently I was on a morning WestJet flight to attend a class about ‘mind over matter’ or Making YOUR Mind Matter. WestJet offers complimentary wine on their Encore flights, and as I thought about this, I was thinking how nice a crisp cold glass of white wine would be. My very next thought was “I can’t do that, it is 10 in the morning, only people with drinking problems have a drink this early in the day!” This then prompted me to explore that thought. Why was I feeling guilty about having a glass of wind, simply based on the time of day? The answer was simple “Social Conditioning”; WOW, such a powerful underlying force that controls us!

Late afternoon or evening is an acceptable time to have a glass of wine because…. REALLY, because why? Because we have been told that evening is an acceptable time to have a drink? Because that is the time of day to relax after a hard day’s work? Which implies that we should not relax until we have put in a full day of toil. Because people aren’t supposed to socialize during the day?

I have even said it myself “It is okay to have an (alcoholic) drink, it is afternoon somewhere in the world. WHAT A JOKE! This is purely social programming that certain behaviours are GOOD or BAD based upon the time of day. Please understand, this is not directed at those who have a genuine struggle with alcohol, I respect and honour each one of you for your journey, it cannot be an easy one. This is directed purely at social conditioning, and wine happened to be the example that prompted this discourse.

Once we become aware of that programming, we can do something about it. For as long as we remain unaware, we are much easier to control, as we do very little thinking for ourselves, rather we react based upon these deep seated social programs that we do not even realize are running.

So what did I do about it? I momentarily ‘justified’ my choice to have a glass of wine. Okay, for more than a moment, I even said something to the flight attendant – yep I had to justify it out loud too. The social conditioning runs deep for me as well. Then I enjoyed every bit of that glass of wine, I savoured it really; as I wrote this article.  

Will I continue to have guilt around this? I expect some, our programming runs deep. But I have now begun to break a pattern for myself, and am able to make an evaluation based upon how I feel and my own personal beliefs rather than something society has dictated. It comes back to awareness, awareness of our bodies, our habits and desires, and our programming. When we become aware, we can make choices from self, not from social conditioning, which becomes a much freer and joyful place to live. The really exciting thing about this, is that making a personal rather than a programmed choice in one area of life helps open up awareness to make personal choice about so much more. And that my friends, is the stuff that empowerment is made of!

Such a perfect start to week-end of transformation!!

If you wish to learn more about empowering yourself and stepping away from the Social Conditioning, I invite you to join me for the upcoming Soul Alignment Classes.