In her first book Mindless Behaviors, Beatrice Adenodi wants to raise awareness on toxic behaviors that prevent our growth. Spurred by the realization of her own mindless behaviors, she compiles seven patterns and how to overcome them.
Reading this book, we cannot help but notice that one of the most prominent obstacles in our life is our modern society. So, in what ways our society can push us into mindless behaviors?
One of the elements we have to experience is expectations. Whether it’s from people close to us or strangers, we are always confronted with expectations in a society. Adenodi explains that if we conform to others’ expectations, especially when they’re conflicting with our own desires and needs, we run the risk of falling into mindless behaviors.
Through the short stories, she illustrates multiple instances where the characters comply to expectations.
In two stories, “The Masks We Wear” and “Not Following Your Intuition”, the protagonists conform to their family and environment’s expectations of following a certain career, even though they want to pursue another passion.
The second story, “Unrealistic Expectations”, deals with expectations in a professional sphere: because of her outstanding past career, Lisa is expected to and expects of herself to be perfect in her new role, no matter the circumstances or other factors in her life.
In each story, the author highlights the consequences of expectations: being deeply unhappy in your professional life, betraying your values or your needs, and hurting others with toxic behaviors we develop in denial or in pain.
Adenodi also touches upon what she calls “our society’s constant message of “not enough”” (page 98). Indeed, there’s a social injunction to always strive for “more”, even to the detriment of “better/deeper”.
She adds that our modern society always demands more because there’s “not enough time, money, possessions, friends” (page 98).
The story of Leica and her family, “Seeking a Quick Fix”, shows that one of her issues was always thinking she didn’t earn enough money for her family and thus, searching for a miraculous solution in gambling, but falling into a toxic and dangerous habit instead.
This injunction can be found in a lot of different aspects in society: the beauty standards implies that women are never skinny or beautiful enough for example; our industries constantly produce more products, more clothes, more smartphones; the online entertainment industry always seeks more views, more posts, more followers, etc.
Societal taboos and stereotypes
Societies carry taboos, subjects or topics that are not openly talked about, and stereotypes, generalized ideas and representations of groups of people.
They often create difficult experiences or situations, the first one because it allows ignorance about a topic and the second one because it creates social norms and images for people to conform to.
In the story of Leica, Adenodi illustrates that the protagonist’s issues worsened because she thought she could not ask for help: the authors explains that “People often hesitate to discuss their finances openly, particularly if they’re experiences financial problems” (page 98). This taboo around financial issues prevents people from asking for support in their social circles in times of need, which leads to them figuring out impossible solutions on their own.
Similarly, in the story “Letting Past Experiences Affect the Present”, the protagonist Bryan doesn’t seek help from others. Instead, he’s convinced he has to face his grief and guilt alone. This comes partly from social restrictions about expressing emotions and enduring stereotypes of men not needing emotional support. In Bryan’s story, it led him to bottling his emotions and pain, not communicating and distancing himself from his family and friends.
These three topics linked to society are only some of the numerous difficult subjects Adenodi deals with in Mindless Behaviors. Her explanations are clear and her advices helpful in showing how we can get caught up in these toxic patterns and how to get out of them. Find your copy on Amazon now.