There are oh, so many forms of crutches. Let’s look at various crutches and attempt to see them for what they are.
- Drugs, Smoking and Alcohol: Drugs, smoking and alcohol are easily recognizable as crutches.
Now, are we brave enough to recognize the others?
- Religions, churches and the god-role: Controversial as it might seem, can religions and the inherent god-role that we follow and aspire to live by also be crutches? Very likely. When things are going well with us, we might not be as keen to follow our religion. But when things don’t go well, we are quite possibly there like a shot. What does this tell us?
- Money: We have crutches like money. Without it, we feel we are nothing, as if the money defines us. Is this, then, not a crutch?
- Parents, and Having Children: How many children are born so the woman can stay at home so as not to be part of making a living? How many men keep their wives or partners pregnant and at home for their own crutch? Oh, and about women that don’t insist on participating in earning an income to contribute toward household expenses: Could it be that this particular crutch cuts both ways—for the woman, so she doesn’t need to contribute to the household earnings, and for the man so he can have a kept woman?
How many children are born as a crutch to either or both of their parents? Or, perhaps their birth provides some particular value to the lives of the parents. Are these really reasons to have children? In this situation, the parents aren’t really having the child for the child’s sake, but for the particular value the child brings to either parent or possibly both parents. Could this be just another form of a crutch?
- Relationship Expenses: When we’re single and dating, and long after the courting stage, men are expected to pay for everything, and women rarely offer to contribute. This dynamic seems to cut even further. Men keep woman barefoot and in the kitchen; women expect men to pay for them: And vice versa. Could this dynamic be anything different from a crutch?
My suggestion to anyone who finds themselves in this position, whether they are kept by their partner or spouse, or provide full support to a partner or spouse, is to look carefully at why we expect this of our partner or spouse.
Let’s also look at this in another way. When we don’t display this behavior, what happens to the party who expects this behavior? When this expected behavior plays out as expected we feel okay; otherwise, we don’t. Again, are these possibly crutches we’ve devised because we’re living second-choice existences?
- Wanting Better Things: Look carefully at the saying of “living up to the Joneses.” Why would we do this? Could it be that we believe we’ll feel good about ourselves when we consider ourselves like or even better than the Joneses? In reality, we’re saying that when we have what the Joneses have (or even more), then we can be “proud” of ourselves. Or until then, we’re possibly not as good as the Joneses are. Or words to that effect.
Or perhaps we have a need to show we’re even better than they are. If this is the case, doesn’t this imply that, right now, we feel inferior to them? That until we have or achieve “this or that,” we really feel inferior? Again, this shows that we deem things outside ourselves as defining us. Is this not a crutch?
What about when we want certain things like shiny cars, a particular person as a partner, a house in a particular suburb, particular accessories, a particular style of clothing, a particular mobile phone . . . this list is probably without end. But do we ever stop and look at why these particular things are so important to us? Could it be that these items and things give us meaning, albeit briefly?
Have you ever considered why we do the various things we do? Yes, it will take courage to look and to see. We might look and not see. Yet the idea, of course, is to look and to see why we do the things we do.
- Nice Guy or Ms. Nice Gal: When we want to be Mr. Nice Guy or Ms. Nice Gal, what lies behind this? Are we not being like this to portray us in a certain light? Why is this? Is it possible that if we do this, we then consider ourselves superior? Is this not a crutch?
- Abuse: When we abuse a child, a spouse, a partner, or anyone or anything, is it possible that doing this provides us with a feeling of superiority? Is this, then, not a crutch?
- Relationships-and-People Dependencies: We have the tendency of habitually going into relationships. Or, to feel depressed or lost when not in a relationship. So when we’re not in a relationship, we get into a variety of activities to go looking for someone to be in a relationship with, hoping to bounce right into another relationship after having broken up a previous relationship.
Then there is the condition of latching onto other people for company. We have the notion of surrounding ourselves, in lesser or greater degree, with people to have company. In effect, so we won’t be alone.
Do we build great friendships and relationships based on the need for company?
Do we make periodic visits to others, not necessarily enjoying the visit, but preferring the visit to being alone, thinking that being with someone, anyone, is better than being by ourselves, even though when we’re with them, we’re not necessarily enjoying ourselves? Do we do this because being alone is just too unbearable?
When we have this behavior—to be in relationships, whether as partner or friend or family member—and these are based on not wanting to be on our own, then are we not using the other person? And this cuts both ways: in which case, are both parties using the other? That begs the question: Are those genuine relationships, or friendships, or family bonds? If we were living our meaning, and were independent people secure in ourselves, would we then still have these dependencies? Would we then still have these friendships, or relationships, or family bonds, and would we still be taking part in such activities?
Looking at it from another angle: If we were living our meaning, would we still have such dependencies and almostritualistic behaviors? If not, aren’t these activities crutches?
- Distractions: When alone, do we have a tendency to have the television or radio on in the background? Consider this in your own life. Do you ever just spend time on your own, just yourself without distractions? Are you forever keeping busy to fill time? Are you in a constant process of distracting yourself in various ways—perhaps some of those ways just mentioned? Do you ever consider why we employ these likely distractions? Is it possibly because we find some security in such distractions: for example, because we don’t want to feel cut off from the world? Conversely, if we felt secure within ourselves, would we need those distractions to keep us from feeling cut off from the world? While we are creating such distractions, are we really giving ourselves an opportunity to get to know ourselves; to uncover ourselves; to uncover what we’d really like to be doing with our life? Are these distractions anything more than our mechanism to cover up an emptiness?
- Not Seeing the Actual Person: Factor-x gets us into things we aren’t even aware of. You’ll likely be surprised to see the variants of Factor-x’s manifestations.
A specific, person-to-person example is when we do things with and associate with others for no reason other than to appease our Factor-x. Thus, instead of seeing the person for himself or herself—the actual person, the real person—we see them in relation to whether they appease our Factor-x.
Do you, perhaps, spend time with people because they appease your Factor-x in some way; are you really there because that’s where you want to be? Do you, perhaps, measure people according to whether they appease your Factor-x—if they appease your Factor-x you like them, otherwise, you don’t? Do you ever see the real person you’re spending time with?
Oh, and then there’s the fact that we continue doing things with others just because we can’t say no. In this situation as well, we’re there not because we really want to be, but because of the consequences: possibly losing the friendship or relationship. And for most of us, that’s too disastrous to contemplate.
You might not even be aware you behave in this way—that you only associate with people in relation to whether they satisfy your Factor-x or that you see and recognize this behavior in yourself. Now, if I don’t see my behavior, do I actually stand a chance to see myself or the other person? This dynamic is likely also the same for the other person. Thus, we likely don’t see each other: the real people we are. Instead, we likely only see each other from a stance of what our Factor-x perceives.
- Keeping Busy as Opposed to Living with Purpose: How much time do we spend merely keeping busy? Is keeping busy rewarding? Is keeping busy a healthy way to live life? Is keeping busy meaningful? While keeping busy, we likely feel something is missing. So why do we keep busy as opposed to living with purpose?
When we’re young and innocent and playful, without a worry or a care, we go about things peacefully, playfully. Soon our caregivers start reining us in, as they were reined in themselves as children. Sometime after this “restricting process” begins, we give up fighting for ourselves and we create our Factor-x. Since we’re only children, even if we were aware of what’s happening to us, it would be virtually impossible for us to get our supposed caregivers to see that we’d like to just get on with our own thing. Even if they weren’t bigger and stronger than we are, they supposedly have all the good reasons in the world for tempering us.
But it seems no one ever stops and sees what we’re doing to our young ones. Eventually, the child we are just gives in. The fight and struggle is just too much, and we take on our Factor-x. Once this happens, everything changes. From that moment, we don’t care about anything other than disproving that we have a Factor-x. After taking on Factor-x, our lives are no longer about us. And as we grow into older children, teenagers, young adults, and then grownups, we never shake this way of living just to disprove our Factor-x. Instead of going for what we like doing with our lives, we likely don’t, because we’ve been ingrained with the knowledge that if we do the things we like doing, we’re going to be reprimanded, possibly even punished. Our actions remain that of children, not maturing at all. The pattern has been interwoven into our lives that we dare not do what is important to us, the things we like doing. We’re stuck in the past, keeping busy to merely pass time. We have likely given up on ourselves, to the point where it takes material like this book to get us to stop and look at what we’re doing to ourselves, individually and as a species.
Looking at all these behaviors and attitudes carefully, aren’t all of them possibly crutches? Isn’t it time for us to see our behavior and get to the point of saying, “No more”? Isn’t it time to break out and stop merely filling time? Isn’t it time for us to uncover ourselves and stand up for what we like doing? Isn’t it time for us as a species to manifest ourselves, starting with each individual? Isn’t it time for us to live our first-choice life? Isn’t it time to stop keeping busy, to stop thoughtlessly engaging in behaviors and thought processes that don’t benefit us (or anyone else)? Isn’t it time to stop leaning on crutches so we can live our lives fully?