The need to belong and the obstacles we face in finding our way
Humans need to belong. We desire to be part of a collective. We didn't survive on our own; we only survived because we stuck together. We need connection. We need to feel acceptance, safety, and validation; it earns our place in the group.
If we are breaking off like an iceberg and start drifting away, we begin to feel like our survival is at risk. We stand alone. The role models of individuals who have chosen alternatives in life are considered rebels; challenging the status quo. Those who challenge our social conditioning, or find ourselves dropping out of school, or ending our marriage, are measured against the social conditioning of this linear pursuit of life.
Gender norms and gender roles are powerful, so is the institution of education and marriage; pillars of our society. Challenging grants a good story. Sometimes we use celebrity role models who chose to not get married, drop out of college, or leave their spouses, in order to normalize these choices, but we still feel alone in ours. This leaves individuals drained and excluded. They don't fit in. And, when you try to fit in, you don't belong.
It is important to recognize the dominant narratives and unpack them. Whos story are you living? How important it is to you to write your own story? To live your own life? To follow your own passion, talent, or path? What price do you place on freedom? Make your own roadmap. You got to know your own roadmap. Otherwise you will be tossed and turn in every which direction and stop at every intersection wondering if you should head back.