The Traps of the Inner Circle - Think Deep

The Traps of the Inner Circle

Human beings are social creatures. We like to be in the “in” with other people. What do I mean by that? I simply mean that we like to be inside the inner circle.

Make no doubt about it. Inner circles exist and we become all too aware of them the moment we start school and start socializing with our peers. This continues on after school, into our workplace, our place of worship, etc. Look at any social venue where there’s a consistent gathering and you’ll always find these types of inner circles. Nobody really acknowledges their existence but we all know it’s there.

Those who are in it know they are in it.
Those who know they’re not in it, know they’re not in it, and try desperately to get in.
Still there are those who think they’re in it, but in reality, are far from it.

It’s this exclusivity, this scarcity that gives the inner circle its essence, its power, its allure that so many people are drawn to.

The need to belong is very strong. We want to feel accepted by our fellow peers. It’s perfectly healthy and normal to want to be part of an inner circle but when you look at it from a deeper angle, it proves to bring along with it a couple of traps that many people fall into.

In any inner circle, there is an unspoken understanding of the profiles of each person within the group. This is essential because it gives the illusion of stability in terms of status within the inner circle. John is this kind of person. Adam is this kind of person. Bob is that kind of person.

BUT, when you start rocking the boat, it shakes up the “stability” of the inner circle and when you start to change yourself and try to become more than what you’ve been profiled as by the inner circle, it threatens the harmony of the group and it’s natural for other people in the inner circle to try to “put you back in your place” so to speak.

If there ever comes a point in time where you’re faced with this type of situation (and it probably has and probably will again and again), this will prove to be a pivotal crossroad in your life. Do you give up your individuality for the group or do you stick to your guns and get banished from the inner circle and face isolation, become an outsider, an outcast, and lose your social net?

Our brains don’t really like it when we are cut off from others so it tends to sabotage our behavior via compromise, and this compromise comes in many forms whether it’s in terms of our beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, actions, etc. This is why it’s so important to watch who you associate with in the first place.

You all know the typical story. John Smith is a nice guy with good morals and manners, but he starts associating with the wrong crowd. After some time, he eventually becomes part of their inner circle. It becomes far easier for him to adopt the ideals and principles of the inner circle than to stand on his own morals and beliefs that he had before entering the group than to risk alienation and isolation.

And this is where so many people fall into the traps of the inner circle. Traps they could’ve prevented themselves from ever falling into. What traps am I speaking of?

The trap of definition, the trap of approval, and the trap of validation.

The Trap of Definition
So many people have no idea of who they are or what they stand for as a person so it becomes really easy for them to adopt a definition of who they are from a group. They find a group they like and they become part of the inner circle and rely on it to define who they are.

Take the above example of John Smith. If he had a solid idea of who he was as a person and what he was all about (let’s just say for example’s sake that it was characteristic of an upstanding citizen), he never would’ve been involved with the wrong crowd, but that unstableness led to a need to fill that void.

You have to know yourself BEFORE you start choosing a particular group to associate with. When one’s identity is created and tied within a group, it becomes a very dangerous trap for that person.

One could argue that it could be a good thing provided that he likes the identity of the group but what if he decides to change? What if he decides he’s another person? It would be very hard for him to pry himself from his group because his identity was created and tied to it in the first place.

Had he created his identity FIRST on his own volition, he could easily pry himself from the group and leave to go to another that would fit his new persona.

The first trap of the inner circle is that you rely on it to give you your identity. You have no sense of self so you get it from others and it becomes a part of you, making it very hard for you to get out of that group should you choose to do so in the future.

The Trap of Validation
This is tied into the trap of definition. When we define ourselves by a group, we need it to constantly validate who we are as a person and this greatly undermines our personal power.

It’s nice to feel validated by others but we must realize that we have to validate ourselves. This is so crucial because if you don’t do this, you depend on validation from others like a drug and you’d be willing to do anything for it, including giving up your own identity, morals, beliefs, principles, etc. for it

The Trap of Approval
This is a VERY subtle trap, but a powerful one nonetheless. Many of us would like to do something that could very well potentially “rock the boat” within the inner circle, but we hold back for the sake of the group because their approval of the status quo is more important than approval of ourselves.

Whether we know it or not, most of our decisions in life were not really our own so to speak. Most of us made our decisions by first viewing the repercussions of following through on those decisions from the eyes of those in our inner circle, more specifically whether they would be approved by those people. As a result, we limit ourselves because we need that approval from others before we undertake any significant venture in our lives.

This article is not intended to make you a lone wolf. No man is his own island. It’s just to point out the dangers of the inner circle – the danger of trying to give yourself an identity via the inner circle and the subtle trap of hollow validation and the need for approval from the group that has the potential to undermine your personal power and restrict your life.

It’s funny because people will do all sorts of things to penetrate an inner circle. Sacrifice their bodies, time, ideals, principles, etc., just to get in and the ironic part is that once they are in, the magic that they felt on the outside of the inner circle is gone. They’re in the circle now and all they try to do is make it harder for the next person to get in just as those prior to himself made it hard for him to get in as well.

Becoming part of an inner circle should be a natural thing. You shouldn’t force it because if you’re trying to force going in it, you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons. You only want that validation, that feeling, that “in” feeling of acceptance and that definition because you cannot define, validate or accept yourself in the first place. You need others to do it for you.

When you get a grip on yourself, learn to accept and trust yourself, in other words have a clear sense of self and not need validation from others and only from yourself, that is when you free yourself and join the ranks of the unintentional inner circle – the one that’s comprised of those who know who they are, trust themselves, and ultimately accept themselves.

When you go inside this new inner circle, it becomes very easy to penetrate other inner circles. It’s as if you have a season pass because you’ve broken free of the addiction that most people have, the need to be validated by others and it’s often this exact need that prevents most people from ever getting in the inner circle in the first place. When you have a clear sense of who you are, what you stand for, you filter all the inner circles to find the ones that clearly suit you and when you accept yourself and don’t need validation from others, it makes you stand out and ironically make people want to invite you into their inner circle without you ever asking for it.

Know yourself so you don’t need any group to define you. Accept yourself so you don’t need the hollow validation. Trust yourself so you don’t need the approval of others.

Know yourself, trust yourself, accept yourself, and you’ll find yourself entering the inner circles that fit you like a glove and avoid ever stepping foot into the traps of the inner circle that befall so many others.

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