Angie's Definition of External Influence: The external things/concepts/people/media that influence our lives with or without our knowledge. Similar to peer pressure, but more all encompassing. It can be positive or negative.
So, this morning I am catching up on one of my shows: Parenthood. You watch it too, right? No? www.hulu.com. Go. Watch. LOVE.
I love how eclectic the family life is. I love that it shows everyone in different stages of their lives, with different outlooks and understandings. It is a beautiful almost harmony. And those are the best kind. Perfect harmonies are boring, and overrated.
Back to where I was going with this... the show inspired some thought, as I watched a teenage Amber get into a car wreck as a willing passenger riding with a drunken driver. All I could think about is the importance of instilling a sense of awareness of external influence in my son -- as to (hopefully) avoid a situation like that.
And, furthermore, I am not sure it is ever too early to begin instilling this awareness in the people around me, firstly my child(ren) -- but also my friends and family. I have been subconsciously doing this for a while now... for example when I tell Mysaiah that the purpose of commercials are to get you to buy things, when I tell my friends that their gut feelings have merit and ask them to give themselves advice first -- before I lay my opinion/advice on them... etc.
Let's talk for a minute about what kinds of things influence ourselves and our loved ones, daily: Facebook/Twitter/Social Media, blogs, newspapers, friends, commercials, shows/movies, end caps at stores, etc etc etc ETC.
Ok, so maybe I am soapboxing a bit here... and going a little deep... but stay with me.
Example 1: You are walking through Target, you pass the "dollar spot", 5 minutes later you are moving through the store with $10 worth of stuff you "didn't know you needed" until you saw it sitting there -- and for cheap! We are all guilty of that, or something similar.
Example 2: You get on Facebook and you see that all of your friends are getting married, buying houses, and making babies, gardening, vacationing, exercising... and BAM. Now you feel inadequate because you haven't worked out today and you are 23 and don't have a house, baby, marriage, vacation, garden, or completely toned bod. Damn. Ouch right? (Insert age/situation appropriate example here) BUT, hold the phone, maybe you have been busy working, going to school, crafting, discovering your world bit by bit, loving life, hanging with your friends, wearing your favorite yoga pants, and eating pizza. What is wrong with that? Nothing.
We can apply this concept to much more than subconscious peer pressure and consumerism, but I believe you can extrapolate further on your own.
Do me a favor?? Take a minute and think about who or what influences you the most, and ask yourself if those influences match your personal convictions -- and if they don't, lose 'em. For me, it was bye bye Facebook! What a relief.
We are all free to take different paths to the destinations we desire, and as long as we can live with the decisions we make to get where we are going, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The most beautiful parts of life are often discovered once we decide to take an alternate/scenic route.
I took the back alley route: baby, marriage, college, house. I wouldn't change it for the world.
-sigh- yeah. I just got all philosophical on your ass. Sorry about that.
See ya tomorrow!