Is it possible that western cultural values which imply that we should always be happy to be considered a success and that depression and sadness are signs of failure, are actually what are making us more depressed?
According to research, cited in an article on the conversation website, and which can be found here, it would seem that this could well be the case.
Feeling we should be living up to such cultural standards, and perceiving ourselves as falling short of them, is a great example of the Equation of emotion (EOE) in action. Remember that the EOE compares our expectations and preferences (EP) to our reality as perceived (RP) and throws out a negative emotion if the RP falls short of the EP.
Expectations, even culturally led ones, that aren’t being met by our perceived reality, cause negative emotions, and because we are the source of the perceived devaluation, we feel the emotion of SADNESS.
The equation of emotion is said to be responsible for all the emotions we feel, and well worth checking out. Here is an article I wrote about it.
We might not even realise we’ve internalised these particular cultural values, which could have been done on a subconscious level, through things like subliminal advertising imagery and symbolism, and as a result we may not even be aware that such subconscious expectations even exist within us.
When you’re on a journey of self-discover and self-awareness, subconscious influences can be difficult to uncover. Often working backwards helps in the discovery process.
- What is the emotion, you’re feeling?
- What’s the relevant attachment?
- And what’s the expectation/preference you have about that attachment?
- Does your perception of reality fall short of this expectation/preference?
I hope this article will aid your journey of self discovery and self awareness. Check out more articles about self awareness here.