Y’know, I had a few reactions to this quote. (I’m behind in #EverydayInspiration, so I may be multi-posting more.) I think my flow was interesting to observe, so I’ll sketch it for you here.
guilty feelings; not your fault
There’s an issue I’m currently working with in personal therapy (note: Ontario’s psychotherapy students are recommended to explore personal therapy for many reasons, including gaining experience as a client that could potentially be in their care). It’s one that is evidently difficult for me to work through, so I’ve been going at it more slowly than previous goals.
The self-induced guilt trip.
Granted, this habit is continuously reinforced, especially by authority figures. I started to list some late examples here, then removed these since they detract from this post’s core. They can be summarized as examples of abuse culture. Anyways.
Since the habit began as a childhood survival learned response, I incorporated it into my standard behavioural repertoire. Unfortunately, few persons in my life recognized this behaviour as problematic for my self-esteem. Breaking this established pattern violates my self-efficacy, and a healthier response must be integrated in order to fill what chasm the previous behaviour occupied.
Sounds simple enough in hypothesis, yes? Now examine the application a little further: Loss of the previous behaviour and integration of a new one threatens and violates the efficacy of past, present, and potentially future attachments as well. No wonder people have tremendous difficulties when a person is learning assertiveness skills.
Some said to me in wording more elegant than this, “Well, fuck other people. You be you, and you do you.”
That’s cute. Adorable, really. Charming how naive this simple “common wisdom” and empowerment push can be.
I’m an extreme kind of extravert. Not an extrovert. The two terms are NOT identical, have VERY DIFFERENT definitions, and I wish complainers would realize that already. Relationships being broken or roughened is devastating for me. I will not “be me” or “do me” when my natural inclination requires the presence of close others. It’s fine to take on introversion when appropriate for certain situations, but it’s not fine to enforce that I rewrite my entire way of being and relating for someone to not feel bad for their behaviours.
The lesson of the self-induced guilt trip: People must learn to own their shit. Their behaviour is not your fault, except when it actually is. And that’s a very shady area that all parties must explore before declaring blame.
When you appoint guilt to someone, one finger accuses them, three accuse you, and one accuses contextual circumstances in that situation.
ashamed by envy; too much for others
When I hear about a “hero(ine)” for humanity, I’ll smile, then wait. It always comes – the backlash of many proportions. Here’s a few common, general trends:
- This person isn’t perfect (me: Well, they’re human too). Invalidate their goodness with deep dark secrets.
- They’re extraordinary. No normal person could ever do what this person did.
- They’re strong despite all that shit? Must be a survivor type.
- What an inspiration! Strive to model them (me: Despite your likely very different context and uniqueness as a fellow human).
- Okay that’s nice, but look at all this other stuff they didn’t do or what they should have done better.
What these reactions essentially come to is similar to the above section: The person is a threat to a form of efficacy. Whether it’s to an individual, group, society, country, the world, organization, etc., an efficacy of some form is threatened and what is the typical response? Resolve the efficacy crisis/crises at the cost of the person-on-pedestal’s humanity.
A similar process occurs with the hated of humanity, the so-called “scum of the earth and history.” I believe these persons as well have a great deal to reveal – and I mean in ways other than potential for harm to self or others. Or that’s just the rest of my personality classifications speaking. Eh. They’re human too, like that empirical fact or not.
self-determination; selfish and selfless
Lastly, what does that statement mean for the person who claims it? In the previous two sections, I discuss external views. The first section can happen when external lashing transmutes into internal backlashing. The second section is entirely external to the identified person (problem), it may (not) affect the targeted person. That’s a case by case examination.
This English language is funny like that. I won’t generalize to other languages as I’m not familiar enough to make a blanket statement regarding them. Those sentences in a single quote can mean so many things. Since it’s framed as a self-statement, what interests me most is how the one who states it defines it for themselves.
- A flashy display for attention?
- A declaration of one’s purpose?
- A call for inspiration?
- An appeal for sympathy and/or empathy?
- Something else?
Whatever the reasoning for making that statement is, it’s not something a surface glance can inform a reader. I want to know who said it, why it was said, how it was said, and where it was said. I want to get to know the context of the statement before I judge the one saying it or claiming it.
I like how my personal reactions moved as they did. I liked being able to reflect and reflex much in my self-concept and people-concepts. I think it’d be fascinating to witness or make guesses of how these could change if I knew more about that quote.
Simple little Twitter quote? Perhaps. Perhaps not.