Friday, July 19, 2019

Stop Being Sorry!

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Do you know what irks me?

When I read advice columns wherein troubled people tell the advice givers that they’re being treated like slime by others and the advice offered is, “Tell the person that you’re sorry but you don’t feel the same as they do,” or, “Tell them you’re sorry but you don’t subscribe to that kind of behavior.”

Folks… Stop being sorry all the time!

Drop the prim and proper, politically correct facade of self-repression, and just say what you mean.

It is your right as a human being to be respected simply because you are a human being.

By all means, it’s your responsibility to bend a little bit for others out of respect that we’re all different (just as others should do for you). But when, say, someone is in your house and pompously demeans you for the way you do things, you shouldn’t have anything whatsoever to be sorry about by standing up for yourself.

To be sorry about being yourself is to tell them, I accept that I am lesser than you, and so I must apologize for suggesting to you that you’re imperfect.

Is this really the message you wish to keep telling yourself about yourself?

Is this really the message you wish to keep broadcasting to the world about yourself?

It’s About Equality

This has nothing to do with anyone being greater or lesser. It’s 100% about being equals and demanding respect due to this fact.

Some people might argue, “But that’s my mother or best friend or dog trainer; I can’t treat them like that.”

Treat them like what?

They’re dumping their crap on you, and you’re sitting there taking it like a toilet during the Super Bowl.

If others are going to get all offended because you demanded respect, an action they will falsely imagine to be you making them look inferior, that is their problem, not yours. To the one whose consciousness is programmed toward taking offense, offence will be taken as long as they don’t get their way; your politeness in word choice is of marginal value.

Because it should be obvious, of course, that this has nothing to do with being a jerk. It’s your right to say something, but if you have inconsiderate guests at your house, for example, you can say, “Please take your feet off the table,” without adding, “you unconscionable dick,” to the end of it.

Imaginary Infringement

Another thing people are way too sorry about is in asking for what they want, as though living in integrity with their true needs and desires is automatically an infringement on others.

This makes for significant negative consequences.

For instance, consider a relationship in which one partner doesn’t ever seem to have an opinion. Even if this person comes across as opinionated when speaking with others, when their partner gets involved they opine less and lessen the value they feel of their opinions, and they allow their partner to “win” most, if not all, decisions.

There’s no balance in this type of relationship. In fact, they’re quite strained because there’s a constant power struggle between the “arrogant and mighty lord” and the “inferior and powerless victim.”

Even when circumstances are trivial, the negative consequences don’t actually change that much. This is for the reason that the small things are merely the pieces that make up the larger chunks of life.

To use an instance of a particularly bad case (but hardly unrealistic): A person could be pouring iced tea, this person could directly ask their guest if they’d like some iced tea, and the guest would say no because they feel guilty, perhaps because the tea-pourer would then have to get another glass out and later take the effort to wash it.

How inhibited must a person be that they cannot even accept a glass of iced tea that is already being poured?

If they feel so unworthy and guilty of asking for something so trivial that’s already within their reach, how much less so do they perceive themselves as deserving of the greater things of life?

Outside: “Yes, of course.” Inside: “No! Dammit!”

People are quite deficient when it comes to saying yes when they mean yes and no when they mean no.

People frequently don’t maintain boundaries regarding things that are truly in integrity with them yet they do usually maintain boundaries regarding things that aren’t.

Let’s use an example of a guy who washes his father’s car once per week. The guy doesn’t really want to do it, and many times he has to go out of his way to get it done. But every week, spoken or unspoken, he tells his father yes because he’s afraid to say no. All the while, if someone were to suggest to the guy that he not wash his father’s car because his father is taking advantage of him and he’s being weak, the guy would get all bent out of shape at the truth-speaker.

In terms of the guy’s father, we could imagine that if his son told him he didn’t want to do it anymore his father would start up with the persuasive arguments, the guilt-tripping, the intimidation, the claim of irresponsibility, and so on.

This is just one totally arbitrary example. I’m sure anyone could easily come up with countless more because this false yes-no behavior is so common. Saying yes when they mean no and no when they mean yes is a way of life for a great many people.

We’re programmed to expect that others should agree with us and that the discomfort of rejection that arises within us when they don’t agree is their problem. Since we don’t see ourselves as accountable, we dump blame on them. Unconsciously, this is an attempt to make others feel and accept guilt so that we don’t have to consciously face the discomfort of our own errors.

We’re simultaneously programmed to believe that the guilt others put on us is truly our own and that we’re best served by playing the victim card and giving in to their selfish expectations.

Guilt is a profound motivator. Unfortunately, more often than it not motivates us in unhealthy directions.

Guilt Is No Fun

I went to the grocery store the other day and parked next to a guy who was loading his groceries into his car.

The guy looked at me and said in a serious but loose tone, “Hey, sorry about the shitty park job. If I would have realized it before, I would have straightened it out.”

I said, “Eh, it happens sometimes.” Then in a deliberately hesitant voice while smiling and shaking my hand in an either/or motion, I said, “And, I mean, you’re kiiiindaaaa soooortaaaa in the line.”

As the words began coming out of my mouth I realized that what I was saying was a rote response based on stupid programming.

Truth is, the guy didn’t park terribly, but if the lot’s lines wouldn’t have been the double ones that are spaced ten inches or so apart, then he would certainly have caused a problem.

As I walked away I thought about how what I’d said was based on a false sense of guilt. He was clearly in the wrong and yet the first thing that came to my mind to say is what one would say who’s afraid to tell someone, indirectly and even if they’ve already admitted it, that, yes, they are in the wrong. Heck, I’d even gone so far as to help justify him as right!

I got annoyed, too, not just because of the stupid programming, but because I’d realized how much of a block the stupid programming causes.

I wanted to be light-hearted and humorous in my response, but it was inflicted with guilt. I thought that, since the guy immediately presented himself as friendly and open to humor, I should have responded to his apology with something to the effect of, “You know, you’re lucky I’m not a jerk or I’d have already called the parking authority and had your ass thrown in jail.”

Funny, right? I can be quick with the witty and humorous comments, but, my, oh, my, did that lame, prerecorded guilt-response ever come out in a hurry.

The Cause

This stupid programming and its resultant self-confidence destroying and self-sabotaging behaviors come from childhood.

For any given person it could come, for instance, from the childhood traumas of threats, abuse, and punishment and of religiously instilled guilt.

At such an early age children simply don’t have the capacity to understand the truth of difficult circumstances and to process and filter out the negative bits appropriately.

When parents are constantly on watch for their children’s misdeeds and are quick to punish, when children are being indoctrinated into a religion that is forever hammering it’s congregants with the idea that everyone is a sinner in desperate need for a savior lest they burn in hell forever, ignorant children with brains that still have years of development ahead can’t do much of anything other than accept that what is experienced and heard is true.

The guilt imbeds itself deep, and if the child is guilty, surely he’s worthless.

There’s also the explanation of weak, guilt-ridden parents. Even if children hadn’t experienced trauma, per se, parents who carry guilt, lack self-confidence and worth, and so on teach this same programming to their kids through their words and deeds.

Absent healing or other deliberate changes, the fact of the matter is that who children become as adults is little-to-nothing more than older versions of who they’d been programmed to be as children.

If they’d spent the early years of their lives endlessly slogging through the guilt bog, they’re not going to reach out for anything beyond—they simply don’t see it within themselves. I mean, they may reach, but what they actually grab onto, if anything, and what results of it won’t be quite what they’d hoped.

DANGER: Highly Corrosive!

Guilt eats away at everything.

For whatever we may want to say or do in integrity, guilt is there to say, “No, you don’t deserve it.” Guilt is there to say, “But if you get that then you’re going to make yourself greater than others, which means you’ll be making others lesser, and you’ll feel bad about yourself, will you not?”

And we believe the voice, right? Oh, how awful I would feel if I told my neighbor to stop letting his dog shit all over my lawn, and how awful I would make him feel.

And then we stand still, we stuff down our feelings and desires, and we live the lowlife of hunchbacks because we have no spines to support us.

We invite into our lives all number of coping mechanisms to deal with the repressed pain, to pretend the pain isn’t there.

We complain to others as though venting in irrelevant directions is going to alter the source. We get violent as a means of expressing our frustration at our inability to speak and act freely. We seek to control others as not to have to witness others getting what they want when we seemingly cannot. We become nosey and try to live vicariously through those who do get what they want. We feign indifference in attempt to hide how much we actually care. We repress our emotions in order to deny ourselves the powerful impetus of the need to move. We absorb ourselves in the TV, our “friends’” goings-on on social media, and so on while telling ourselves that these are “important and meaningful matters.” We get lazy and apathetic and just don’t give a damn whether we live or die.

It’s All Made Up

But guilt is nothing but programming.

It’s overwhelming, to be sure, but it’s just programming.

It’s the result of living in a super messed up world and as such is most certainly not an inherent part of who you or I or anyone else is.

This means guilt can be removed, and we can remove it.

Thank God.

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