We shape ourselves according to the role models or standards we esteem. On the cover of magazines, women are presented with a standard of beauty. Advertising, in all its forms, announces, the “best,” “ideal,” “top-of-the-line,” “new” product, service or lifestyle for people to adopt. Even the Bible presents men and women as role models of faith and examples.
This is how human beings work. From childhood, we learn to film everything and everyone around us. And the role models and standards which impact us the most end up programming us to follow them. It’s no surprise that our parents and our childhood dictate practically 90% of our behavior for the rest of our lives. In truth, we don’t like to admit this. In our heads, we’re independent, free and further ahead than our parents. Yet, all it takes is a sincere self-examination of our behavior in order to see what we don’t want to see. To project what we see and learn into our behavior is inevitable, unless an intervention takes place.
Intervention, how so?
When you wake up to the fact that you have followed, not simply one but various role models and standards in your life, you can use your intelligence and judge if they are worth imitating or not. You can ask yourself: do I need to suffer in diet after diet, take pills to get skinnier, and have plastic surgeries to look like Photoshopped models? If I don’t wear designer clothes, will I not be in style? Is that “successful man,” who’s an expert at business but a failure at marriage, really a role model for my happiness? Does the behavior I saw in my father have to determine my behavior for the rest of my life?
When you identify negative role models and standards which influence you, you can consciously reject them and look for other standards, better and more productive ones.
This is a conscious decision only you can make. It’s difficult to make a change. It takes time. It requires breaking paradigms. Sometimes only divine intervention can accomplish these changes.
But one thing is certain: you will always follow a standard, a role model in life, good or bad, willingly or not. The good news is you can choose which you want to follow.
"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." – Paul of Tarsus 1 Corinthians 11.1