We live in a nation and world where most people think they suck. I’ve made a study of this in order to recognize the forces at work, and how, possibly, I could have a better relationship with my own sense of self.
In this post I share what my study has revealed to me.
Number 1: Other people pass binding judgments on us. This starts in grade school with letter grades and playground monitors. It continues with employers and annual reviews, and the IRS with tax filings and audits.
This thinking is embedded deeply in our culture. They tell us who we are, and they assess our value, if we have any.
Number 2: We judge ourselves on our ability, or lack of it, to “read” the universe. Who is God? Does God love us? We assume God to be male. That is a clue to our deeper problem. God, we are told, is distant and judgmental.
Number 3: We appoint authorities who we empower to make us feel helpless and guilty. I was given this message about Jesus when I was not yet logical. It was imprinted deeply on me, and by many people. The messages put me on the defensive, both about his suffering, and the possibility of my own.
Number 4: We are told of the superiority of the male point of view. We men exaggerate our importance, and we discredit the feminine spirit. The consequences are tragic.
We are always at war because we claim to know more than anybody who would ride a camel, or run short of drinking water. We are profoundly condescending, making the world we live in today the painful place it is.
Number 5: We endorse wealth at the total expense of wonder and curiosity. Day dreaming is considered a vice and a distraction. Wonder is proof of foolishness. We are expected to have direct, simple answers to the mysteries of life.
Number 6: We scorn physical enjoyment. We categorize physical delight as a fondness for pornography. We drink too much alcohol. We put people in jail for experiencing marijuana. We are entirely anti joy and amusement.
Number 7: Our first choice is to rebuke people. We see this particularly in our bulging prison population. There are alternatives, but we judge them as weak and evasive.
Number 8: We lack appreciation for conversations. Bosses are expected to know it all, and to take charge. Our organizations demand and reward that behavior. We hold the opinion that rank equates with knowledge and competence. There appears to be no remedy for this.
Number 9: We tell people, often indirectly, what interests of theirs are acceptable. I have long had an appreciation of ladies’ feet, and I have chosen to conceal it. There are countless photos on the Internet that show me that other people share my interest. I finally give myself permission to be me.
Number 10: We expect lists to have 10 entries. I offer you this. Do what excites you. Take that chance. My two college degrees have zero value, but they cost Yvette and me a lot of money.
And Number 11? Say something on this blog if you are so inclined.