Monday, May 18, 2020

Keep the spirits happy, keep the nest safe

Being the arbiter of moral rectitude is very rarely welcomed. 

In fact, it’s usually met with ungenerous opposition. 

Like when you go out to eat with a group of friends or colleagues, and upon ordering something healthy, all the sudden you get the chorus of eye rolls. People joke about how you are make everyone else feel bad. They make passive aggressive and backhanded remarks about your conscious choices. And you feel shamed and bullied for trying to be healthy. 

It’s not hyperbole, it’s biology. It’s a deeply ingrained evolutionarily driven impulse that all people do to protect their tribes. 

And so, when you are the deviant person refusing to conform to the normality of the group, people’s reptilian brains kick into high gear. They perceive you as trying to leave the tribe, and that ancient chorus begins spinning on repeat. 

Keep the spirits happy, keep the nest safe and show allegiance to the chief and the clan. 

Biologists call this the shaming and shunning instinct. It’s an expression of envy and anger. 

In the case of healthy eating or drinking habits, for example, one member has what the others want. 

Discipline. Restraint. Strength. 

Which means the mob needs to take them down for it. 

How dare you make healthy choices in front of us? We are eating friend chicken and drinking whiskey, and that is that. 

Sadly, this instinct starts at a very young age. And it never stops unless we become aware of it. 

Reminds me of middle school. Everyday my brown bag lunch was a turkey on a bagel with pretzels and an apple. Whereas everyone else was eating junk, sugary snacks and other normal food. 

And so, my friends humiliated me. They called me a brown nose goodie two shoes. Because apparently, it was not cool to responsibly pack and bring your own lunch, much less a healthy one. 

The shunning and shame got so bad that eventually I just stopped doing it, and just purchased junk food from the cafeteria machines instead. 

Maybe nobody really wants you to be healthy after all. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What healthy choices have you been shamed for?