Revisiting the social norms and expectations imposed upon us…

I grew up in Lebanon and spent most of my life there. One of the things I learned is to be hospitable.

For instance, if you are eating something, you offer others before you eat.

If you are thirsty at the same time as some one else, you let them drink first.

When we go to restaurants with a group of family or friends, we fight for the check. Everyone wants to pay for the whole group. The premise is that if someone pays today, another will pay the next time, etc.

All was good until I moved to Western Europe and then to North America.

As it seems, such hospitality practices are not that common in Western cultures. In the West, people think about themselves first. That’s not a bad thing by itself. Living abroad taught me to re-evaluate my social programming and come up with my own hospitality practices and along the way I found that some habits from the Middle East were not as good as I thought when I was living in that society.

I no longer like to buy dinner to anyone just because I was taught to do so. Let’s split the check instead. I learned that people tend to abuse my hospitality. I became selective regarding who I should extended my generosity towards.

I no longer believe that when someone invites me to their house I have to bring them something (like a bottle of wine or a cake). Instead, when I am invited, I am a guest. The host takes care of me. When someone visits me, I accept no gifts or food, instead their are now my guests and I am their host. I make sure they are well treated and properly fed. I prefer to accept invitations and show up empty handed and I expect the same from others when I invite them to my place.

I no longer buy gifts or abide by made up holidays such as: Xmas, Valentines, New Year’s Eve celebration, Mothers day, Fathers day, etc. This is all commercial crap that I want no part of.

All the social expectations have gone out of hands. One has to stop and re-evaluate the current state of affairs. The “Black Friday” bullshit for instance when people go nuts and overspend and buy stuff that they don’t necessarily need.

The same thing when it comes to feasting. I now to hate Thanksgiving dinners, Xmas dinners and what not. These dinners have become nothing more than an exercise of overeating and gluttony instead of an opportunity to dine with loved ones and spend quality time. I have no respect for such settings. How sad it is to find articles such as “How to Avoid Overeating on Thanksgiving”. When it comes to overeating, animals are way better than us at controlling themselves. Sad but true.

The first casualties of my internal rebellion against all the unhealthy social expectations, habits and norms are my family and relatives. I no longer wish to participate in feasts and other overeating/overspending practices. God! The sight of a table full of a variety of food that can feed 15 people with only 5 people sitting around the table just depresses me. The sight of such extravagance makes my heart ache when I know for a fact that just a few miles down the street there are lots of homeless people picking up scraps from trash bins just to eat.

Food waste, gluttony, narcissism, selfishness, arrogance, pride, etc. begone!

May you all live free and act consciously out of love and genuine generosity and desire to serve others.

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