In our last post about Image, we looked at the nature of your reality with respect to the interaction of your Inner Image and Outer Image. Now we're going to look at how your Outer Image interacts with your Environment.
The Natural Environment
You don't exist in a vacuum, you exist in an environment. This environment provides things that you need to exist. A few of those things come automatically based on the laws of physics, like breathing, or the way your body grows as specified by your DNA. But, if you are actually going to survive in this world, you have to negotiate with your environment to get things you need - shelter, water, fire, and food. You do this by reaching into your environment using your body and taking what you need. Since you're reading this post, you're well beyond the shelter/water/fire/food stage and probably take for granted that these will be provided for you barring an unforeseen crisis.
The Social Environment
Beyond the immediate needs of survival, your environment must be negotiated to provide you things that are more social in nature: relationships, work, money, and reputation. These things validate your existence as an individual through rewards: recognition, acceptance, approval, appreciation, service and money. All this takes place in what could be called your Social Environment.
Unless you are a hermit living in the wild, you exist inside a social environment and rely on other people to provide for both your survival and social needs. This means that you must communicate with the people around you in ways that will get them to give you what you need. One primary way we do that in our society is through money. You trade your time, energy and skills in order to receive money from others. You then give this money to other people, so that they will give you the things you need and want. Along with that, you are negotiating for people's time, attention, and support for your vision of life.
Surviving the Social Environment
All this boils down to the simple fact that you want people to like you, for social and survival reasons. Even though we are far from the days of small tribal societies where excommunication would be a serious personal setback, there are still serious consequences to unsuccessfully navigating your social environment. Like our natural environment, our social environment is not benign, but can be difficult and hostile.
For example, in the area of finances, getting work or a promotion will be difficult if employers don't like you. In relationships, getting dates or creating meaningful relationships will be difficult if those you are interested in don't like you back. In areas like politics, politicians are reliant on being liked by the voters and other elected officials to get support for their ideas. And, finally, if you're not well liked, life just won't be as fun: you won't be invited to many social gatherings and may struggle with feelings of loneliness, isolation and social anxiety. And social gatherings are where people meet, relationships are formed, and job opportunities are found.
Now remember that in our last post, we learned that other people recognize you and know you through your Outer Image. In order for you to get the things you want, there is a skill involved in adjusting the elements of your Outer Image to create a positive perception in the minds of other people. This positive perception increases the chances of you getting what you need and want. And this is a skill you've been practicing since you were born.
The social environment is not benign, and definitely not passive. In our next post, we'll see how it influences and affects the Inner and Outer Image.
But I just want to know what's trendy this season! Can you tell me?