Life after ideology

Note: This post is for people who this post about being seen as real through ideological affiliation applies to. If you don’t have that history, this post might not make very much sense.

When you need to break with an ideological group, it can be really difficult. It can undermine your sense of self.

Partly because of the way ideological group members treat you when you stop fitting their worldview. When other people stop treating you like you’re real, it can be hard to remember that you’re real.

But not just that. It’s also, when you see the problems with the ideology, when you see the huge gulf between what its words say it is and what it actually is, sometimes it’s easy to feel like there must be something wrong with you to have ever wanted to be part of that group.

You can feel like you were really stupid and that everything was rotten, and that you just need to root out parts of yourself that you developed in association with that group.

But… keep in mind… that you were attracted to the ideology for reasons. And some of them were good reasons. And you learned a lot in your time with the group. The growth that you experienced was real. Your learning counts.

And you don’t have to reject everything you learned in order to move on. You don’t have to reject former versions of yourself, either. You don’t have to throw everything away, to get away from the ideology.

What you have to do is move on. Not reinvent yourself. Not throw away an old version. Not find a new group. Move on. Keep trying to find out what’s true, keep looking for good things to do, and keep looking for good people to do them with.

And moving on by building things takes time, and it’s not exhilarating like throwing yourself into a new ideological group would be. But in the long run, it’s much, much better.