Let yourself be governed by the illusion of separateness. Believe that you are always in competition with those around you, that you are only as good as you are better than someone else. Believe your conditioning is the only one, the right one. Drown your desire for connection by manically scrolling through feed after feed, day after day. Live your life waiting, waiting, waiting for someone else to make you feel love. Put it all in their hands. Condemn them when they don’t perform. Believe you’re not enough on your own; that there’s something in this world that will save you, and can, and should.
Believe that marriage licenses mean love, job titles success, religion goodness, money contentment. Trust fully in the powers-that-be, let them teach you how to let your fear control you.
Do not let yourself feel anything other than what other people say it’s okay to feel. If your life looks good from the outside, don’t take the liberty to say it doesn’t feel good on the inside. Act only in accordance with what will make sense to other people. Make the most important facet of your existence being palatable to anyone and everyone else. Trick yourself into thinking that kind of numb safety is happiness.
Hate yourself for still caring about the person you aren’t supposed to care about anymore. Shame yourself until you’re completely suppressing everything you feel. Spend days and months and years checking their status updates and new pictures in search of something, anything, that justifies the feelings you just want to kill off. Tie yourself in mental knots trying to get your head and heart to coexist. Make caring a bad thing. Make loving worse.
Assume that the line between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ runs between religions, or races, or creeds, or nations, rather than in each human heart. Disregard our universal capacity to drown in our denseness.
Fail to recognize the sameness and beauty in the people you’ve condemned because they were born with genetics or practices or perceptions that are different than yours… because they were conditioned the opposite way to which you were.
Never realize that you were conditioned at all.
Believe that you are your thoughts, that you are your emotions, rather than the being observing those things. Never realize the constant stream of conversation you hold with yourself. Never realize that two thirds of the statements you make and ideas you have are not organically yours. Disregard that they don’t lead you to contentment or kindness or hope, and accept them anyway.
Pick and choose the people to whom you afford humanness. Decide who is worthy and not. Sift through the traits and habits of others, categorize them into what’s acceptable and not. Don’t let someone be worthy of love and respect just because they are alive, doing this will ensure you never give the same kindness to yourself.
Be your worst enemy so nobody else can be. Assume the worst so nobody can surprise you with it. Call it being realistic. Accept the life someone else thinks you deserve. Don’t believe that change is real. Don’t believe in anything other than what you can immediately sense and see. Suffocate the chance of possibility. Sustain yourself on temporary highs, the kind that come from other people and their attention. Let your past experiences quantify your self-hatred. Create your past in your present.
Let other people wash away the good parts of you. Call this being strong. Settle because you are afraid to choose. Call this being smart. Fight others so you don’t have to face yourself. Resist and reject until it seems like everyone and everything is seeping under your skin and torturing you. Never realize your mind does the wielding. Never realize that bit by bit, you created the life you never really wanted with the pieces you never really chose.