Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It Ain' Necessarily So...

A lovely, gentle and thoughtful email from a favorite correspondent nudged my memory toward one of the most brilliant insights a tutor ever entrusted me with, and it is so fragile that I hesitate to limn it now, for fear I may bruise it.

Viewed alongside the matrix of “Political Correctness” or the collateral fear of “Offending Others”, my guru’s dictum is startlingly instructive.

He said:

“Others cannot, REALLY ‘hurt your feelings’. Only YOU can hurt your OWN feelings by the way you consume and use--what you tell yourself ABOUT --- what they say or do.”

This is of course a more firm and basic locution than the singsong “Sticks and Stones may break your bones” jingle, which no one ever really internalizes.

To liberate psyches, I used to–in my other life as Therapist–tell Pilgrims “If Joe or Sally calls you a paper clip, does that make you a paper clip ?” Or, I’d press on with: “Does anyone’s opinion trump a fact you have bought with your own pain?”

For there ARE a great many FlimFlam artists around who will always get some poor brain weary fellow’s fat wallet by saying: “I am your BETTER! Are you going to believe ME?..Or your lying eyes ?!!”

So it is with political correctness and offending. If a man or a woman or even a youngster in school, does not perform assigned tasks efficiently and / or profitably, then we cheat them when we do not correct them, restart them or...*gasp*..replace them after repetition of failure.

The corrected person knows, at some level, whether a judgement by another is a canard or an opportunity to learn.

Well, if one cannot learn at all, that is another galactic sphere of reality, after all.

But the point of it all, is that the way a person “factors” the words one hears, the deeds one does and sees, is subjective, personal and sculpturing of personality.

If you tell me a behavior is “creepy” I WILL react to what you say. But I am not required to go into a depression or self destruct or hate you. I am required to silhouette your judgement against my own—AND my experience. You could be wrong.

I may not BE a paperclip.

It is very liberating, to the same extent that “political correctness” is restrictive, muzzling and basically cowardly. It causes more hatred than it ameliorates.

Just think....All those scornful schoolyard jibes, teachers’ hurtful stereotypes, kinfolks' put-downs and the wild gossip that your “clique” and those “others” spewed...all of it was so shattering and tumultuous. But mostly garbage.

That email said we should completely forgive those who have hurt our feelings.

I suggest we forgive OURSELVES for what we said and did to ourselves about what THEY said and did !

That’ll teach us !

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