Overcome the pressure to conform

Even great mythical heroes could feel forced to conform to society’s wishes. Under this kind of pressure, it’s important to stick to your own values and do what you feel is right.

Overcome the pressure to conform
photo credit: Charos Pix via photopin cc

The hero may have to be brought back from his supernatural adventure by assistance from without. That is to say, the world may have to come and get him. For the bliss of the deep abode is not lightly abandoned in favor of the self-scattering of the wakened state. “Who having cast off the world,” we read, “would desire to return again? He would be only there.” And yet, in so far as one is alive, life will call. Society is jealous of those who remain away from it, and will come knocking at the door.’
Joseph Campbell
. The Hero with a Thousand Faces

‘Morals are social conventions about what is good; values are personal choices about desirable ends. To be maximally effective, the ACT therapist must be able to work sincerely with the client. Some clients enter therapy with histories or current problems that are morally repugnant to the therapist, such as battering, addiction, repetitious suicidal behavior, and so on. Values clarification work often exposes these areas, yet the ACT therapist cannot be drawn into the role of “moral detective,” using the social influence of therapy to openly or implicitly coerce the client into conforming to broadly held social values. The therapist makes the same move the client is asked to make, namely, to see valuing as essentially a personal exercise.’

Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl and Kelly G. Wilson. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change.

* In a series of posts I call mythology Monday, I look at quotes from the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell and consider them alongside extracts from books and papers on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and related publications.