Letting Go of Your Tribe

Jay Smith
3 min readApr 11, 2021

Photo by: Shamia Casiano on Pexels

As I grow older, I realize that I know a lot less than I did when I was a younger man, full of certainty and surety. We crave order amidst the chaos around us. The way we combat this chaos is to try to make sense of it, to put things in a perspective we consider “proper” (which also MUST align with our tribal or peer group mentality which gives us affirmation to our personhood).

To be accepted by “our group”, we must believe and behave as they do. Group acceptance is one of the most powerful motivators of how and why we process life-in-general the way we do… or maybe fear of being ousted from our particular group is the true motivator. “If I don’t believe and behave the way my group does, then I will no longer be accepted by my group, and I will lose my self-identification with my group.”

There seems to be nothing worse than losing our state of acceptance and approval by our group of peers. This is the way tribalism works… and how most people view their lives subconsciously. We crave this approval. We yearn for this acceptance. “What would happen to me if my tribe no longer accepted me? What if they disapproved of me?” If you’ll listen deep inside, you might hear the words of this song being played in the background, on the deeper levels of your subconscious mind.

Tribalism creates the divide of “us versus them” where our group is deemed superior in knowledge and belief and any “other” group is considered inferior and less knowledgeable.

Leaving tribalism and group perspectives had been daunting for me. As I began to grow emotionally, spiritually, and mentally, and left those tribalistic mindsets behind, I found myself at odds with the reality I believed to be real. It created a cognitive dissonance within me. I was placed on the outside of the tribe. On the outside looking back in, my orthodoxy became heretodoxy. I became a dissident to my group. Unwelcome. Unapproved. Shunned. Looked upon with misplaced disgust or misdirected sympathy. I’m sure some have probably stated that I am bound for the particular ‘hell’ in which they believe. That’s okay.

I grew outside of those beliefs that held me tightly to my group. And, sometimes, you outgrow the people who have the power to give you approval.

Jay Smith

Writing on current events, politics, religion, philosophy, and health. I would love to see you on my email list, so subscribe today!