~ by Mary Rocamora, M.A. ~It is not only our personal ego patterns that bedevil us, that trap our thinking and keep our lives small, it is the larger ego pattern of the culture around us. It is comprised of family, friends, the media, social values, morality and the standards by which a “good” or “successful” person are judged. Even more derailing are the internal “shoulds and obligations” that carry out the edicts of this internalized arbiter of our daily behavior. Oversocialization is annoying to many people, but it is a death trap for the gifted. One of the personality traits of the gifted is that they are internally defined, so when the wave of external definition and social convention hits them, it creates a terrible inner conflict: acquiesce to being a “good person” by the definition of others or answer to your own inner directives at the possible expense of external approval. If you look at your own inner process, what is the cost of dutifully abiding these directives? At the most immediate level, a “should” will yank you out of the flow you’re naturally in and deposit you in the emotional Mohave of obligatory behavior. Now you are distracted from what is really important to you, but the ego voice rationalizes that you can resume your flow later. But by the time you return to what you were doing that really mattered, you find that you are distractible, that you’ve lost your enthusiasm, that you’re too tired to continue right now, or that that visit to your grandmother in the nursing home has just added one more weight to the feeling that your need to accomplish something wonderful just isn’t that important. The next layer is a cloud of unseen gas we are all breathing that wafts out of the “good person" pattern. Everyone knows what this is, but we don’t sit back and contemplate the cumulative impact on our lives. The little “shoulds” of our daily lives are housed in this larger pattern, and even when we’re in a flow and being creative, there is always the “good person” sitting in the room puffing away on its nasty cigar, reminding you that you can only be and do so much before you start coughing and suffocating. If you sacrifice your own inner “good person” on the alter of creative self-expression, leadership, realizing a vision, or just simply sitting and being so as to quiet the mind and explore the free state of awareness, everything your giftedness tells you to do will be for naught. If you can set aside the oversocialization, ask yourself, what is “good” to you? What does success mean in the context of your talents and abilities? Who is defining who you are, both daily and in a larger sense? Take stock of your personal situation, and as always, be aware. When you see a choice to stay with what is right in front of you that feels fulfilling and real or let your oversocialization take over, look at the results over time. Freedom comes with practice, and with freedom, comes making the contribution you are really here to make.