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On Shame/Guilt Mindset

From The Rawness, an interesting & recurring discussion of guilt and shame:

 Many people think shame and guilt are the same thing, but they are very difference. To reiterate a concept I’ve discussed in the past, guilt is feeling bad about something you did, while shame is feeling bad about what you are, your very essence, your very identity

 For shame-based people, even what little sense of guilt they have ends up fused with shame, making it something called toxic guilt. That is, they can’t separate their guilt from their shame, meaning they can’t separate their actions from their identity. For example, when you are operating from a sense of guilt, you can say something like “I am a good, decent guy who just happened to do a stupid thing. Doing something stupid doesn’t make my whole identity defective.”

The concept here is a simple one: a “guilt-based” mindset will see that a misstep lies in their actions; a “shame-based” individual will see that same mistake infused within their identity.

So how does one overcome an unhealthy shame-based mindset?

The first part is simple: establish your identity. No, you are not defective or fundamentally flawed. Despite the billion dollar industries that tell you to what to buy/how to vote/where to eat, you will not be a loser or suffer any harm to your self-image if you choose to go your own way.

Your identity should be set on a just-because truth: I am a good, decent person. Why? Not because of what you did, or where you grew up. You’re worthy because you’re here.

Secondly, realize when you do it. As mentioned I the article, the problem is not limited to mistakes and lows; when one achieves a successful feat, they may also be tempted to believe “I am awesome!” Avoiding identifying with actions & results, whether positive or negative, will allow you to maintain a constant truth of yourself: I am a good, decent person.

Quick note: I’ve mentioned before that one can build confidence by setting action-based goals. Such is consistent with the message here. When one achieves goal after goal they set, the mindset is not “Look how awesome I am,” but rather, “I have achieved this in the past, and I am capable of achieving more in the future.” Conversely, if those goals were met with resistance or failure, the message may be “I am a failure,” which may in turn render the opportunity for future confidence null.

The New American Girl

Bitch!” She scowled, as a lady friend pulled me away from a random girl on the dance floor.

 

I’d like to say it was one of those nights, but I simply had not experienced such a mood to this degree. Ever since I returned from Western Europe, my levels of interest have seen a stark decline. I no longer care to go out. I don’t volunteer myself for any cute, single friends. I don’t even introduce myself to women who eyeball me like I’m going out of style.

 

My experience reads like a bad happy tale of a man who’s checked out, or gone his own way. I’ve heard the countless number of complaints regarding the American girl: loud, masculine, unnecessarily arrogant, and empty. Many generalizations, fair and unfair, wrapped up into a single entity representative of an entire culture.

 

One might say that women are simply women, be they from the East or West. Oddly enough, I did not hear this counter argument from any women abroad; in fact, the women from the various countries seemed to have more to say to me regarding the American girls I put up with.

 

And Generally, they were right. If I could describe my experience in one word, it would be refreshing. Not all women are like that, Indeed.

 

Which leads me back to the night. Back to the night in which I finally went out, enjoyed myself, and just happened to receive a rather high amount of attention every two steps I took. I was eyed, followed on the dance floor, groped, smacked by whipping hair, and “accidentally” bumped into a few times.

 

Yet I didn’t waiver. Sometimes I looked and smiled, other times I simply relocated without giving the time of day. Rarely, I humored the approach.

 

All in all, this night got me thinking: I’ve gone thousands of miles away and realized that the grass will always be greener on the other side. So why bother?

 

But in a parallel twist, in my new “not even for a second” attitude, I realize that my behavior, on the surface, is no different from those which I despise. In avoiding those who find creative ways to open me, I’ve become what I hate – The American Girl.

Broken Window Theory

From The Rawness (a blog you should be reading if you aren’t already):

 Picture you own a house, and you allow the windows of this house to remain broken. Other people who live in and visit this house will believe that they too can break windows in your house, because you give the impression that you don’t mind the windows in your house being broken. Furthermore, they may feel free to escalate and do even bigger acts of vandalism to your house.

This is the broken window theory in a nutshell. Allow others to “vandalize” you (you personally and the company that you keep) and respect goes out the broken window. The vandal loses respect for you, and you lose respect for yourself for allowing the treatment to go on this way.

This is why in politics you notice two opposing statesmen jockeying over the most minor of slights. While observers my mock them for child play, each man knows that how he responds will dictate future relations and perceptions.

The takeaway is not to become hyper-defensive about being respected, but to start by respecting yourself in the first place. This means standing up for yourself, speaking up if someone has disrespected you and setting a tone that you are worthy of recognition and appreciation.

The Thirstiest Men of Instagram & Their Trashy Counterparts

So I’ve recently become aware of the following site making rounds: Thirstiest men of Instagram.

I’ll admit, Just seeing the title drew a laugh in anticipation of the cringeworthy and creative ways these guys would be expressing their carnal interests towards the female in picture (“thirsty” here means desperate, for the unaware). I mean, who wouldn’t want to laugh at the desperate attempts at play while sitting atop their high horse? Afterall, these men should be shamed for expressing their sexual intent to women who have committed no crime other than simply being attractive.

But wait.

After going through the first 3 photos, I noticed a trend. A few more photos, and I was looking for the only exception. The exception to photos like this one:

Bikini shots. Skintight clothing. Egregious cleavage. Self-absorbed selfies.

Now the bulk of the problem here isn’t just with the overly desperate men (or unintentional comedians). Nor does it lie squarely with the attention-seeking women in the photos. The real problem is with the framework that judges and shames another while overlooking virtues (such as maturity or self-restraint) in the self.

Thirsty men and sleazy women are merely symptoms of the issue. For instance, look at music videos from late eighties rock bands, or even hip hop artists today. The interplay with scantily-clad women seemed to say “I’ll treat her the way she’s dressed.” Note that you rarely see fully clothed, modest women with alcohol being poured down their crack. But what you also don’t see on the part of these men is any sense of restraint. Because she is dressed like that (and signaling availability), does not mean one should abdicate himself of prudence or self-control.

As far as these women go, the dominant narrative states that they are innocent, and the horny losers that dare comment on their photo have no right to objectify them (one spinoff article refers to the women as “victims”). But the defense of “I was just treating you like I saw you” flies out the window with notions such as slut-shaming and victim-blaming. That said, these young girls are either blissfully unaware of the impact of their photos, or worse (and much more likely), flat out immature and disingenuous.

Afterall, while the intuitive, emotional-focused nature of women can sense creepiness and filth from a mile away, the visual nature of man can see it and make a similar, accurate discernment.

I cannot defend either line of thinking. Nor can I stop being entertained by the exchange of sleazy photo for sleazy comment. I only ask that the tumblr site be renamed “thirstiest men of instragram and the trashiest women meet.”

I’ll work on a better title…later.

A Few Questions for You

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, and I’d like to know a few things about the readership. Whether you’ve subscribed since day 1 or it’s your first time reading a post, your opinion will be valued (don’t be shy). Note that the feedback I am about to ask for is not specific to my blog, but rather any blog that you may read, related or unrelated. Feel free to either comment below or send a message via the ‘contact’ form in the ‘about’ section.

So with that said, here are a couple of questions for you:

1) What topics do you enjoy reading about? Additionally, which area (if any) of your personal development do you wish to have handled?

2) Roughly how many blogs do you regularly visit? If you could only choose one for the next week, which would it be and why?

Thanks for your input.

“I Have a Boyfriend” Is a Good Thing

 You know the story: you meet a girl who just seems a bit above the rest. The more you talk to her, the more you’d like to get to know her Just when you begin to imagine a solid future between the two of you, you hear these words:

 “So, I told that to my boyfriend, and…”

 How do you respond to the subtlety of information casually wrapped into conversation? Do you sulk on the spot as your fantasy falls away? Do you soldier on as if you never heard it? Is it time to pull out your pua line and invite the unseen boyfriend to cook you two breakfast?

 Your Mindset Governs Your Response

Perhaps it’s not often that the stars align and you find yourself in good conversation with a promising woman. Or so it seems. The truth of the matter is that there are a number of women who can make you just as happy as this one.

 So why do we insist on pushing through with this single target? Because you have a mindset based in scarcity. You believe that this may be “the one” or that you just may never find another like her. You won’t let it go because you have become invested in her, and unknowingly part of your happiness depends on attaining her.

 The Response from an Abundance Mindset

So how does one with a mindset grounded in abundance respond to the new information?

“So…do you have any cute single friends?”

I cannot deny the efficacy of this statement. It’s a subtle disqualification that shows her that she doesn’t hold all the cards. It gives her a way to play matchmaker (a woman’s favorite game, mind you). It gives you a whole host of options that you were too blind to notice beforehand.

 

Note: When using this line, I’m presupposing there’s decent chemistry between the two of you. If she’s saying “I have a boyfriend” to avoid you, you’ll have no luck with her friends. The discerning of you will tell.

What’s Your Purpose?

What’s your purpose?

What’s the reason you get up every morning?

What’s your “why?”

What is your greater mission in life?

We were created with a mission, a will, a drive to move the world in progressive directions. Unfortunately, this drive has been sapped by the forces which will have you believe that finding a relationship is your highest goal in life and tell you that you’re not enough. Each of us is constantly being distracted to live vicariously through the lens of fictional television characters. While I believe entertainment has its place in our lives, you must see the bigger picture: do you think the men and women you’re watching got where they are by sitting around and watching others?

There is nothing more important than your mission, as far as activity goes. The importance covers your self-growth, your relationships, and the world around you. As a unique individual, you have certain skills, traits, and visions that no one else has. Don’t waste your talent doubting your importance to the system. Get up and do something. You’re capable. You’re important.

From here on out, your goal is simple. You are to focus on what your mission is, and all of your thoughts and energy should be directed towards it. If you don’t have the slightest clue on where to start, begin by making it your goal to find your mission. This isn’t boring; you’ll be doing something you love, or something you’re good at. This isn’t useless; the world’s progression is depending on you.

No excuses. You truly have better things to do.

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