Saturday, January 21, 2006

No More Abuse

From my friend John. He is wise.
"What right do you have to be happy?
"You're not good enough, you haven't done enough, and you haven't met my standards. You should feel sad, and anxious and dissatisfied, you should never relax and feel contentment or peace, until you've changed yourself to fit my mold."

Every day people hear those words, or words that mean the same thing. Every day people suffer in silence, wondering if they'll ever measure up. They struggle and carry on, but every time they improve, the standards get stricter, and the criticism harsher.

Does it make matters better if I tell you the abusers are suffering just as much? Or does that give away the punchline?

Shouldn't every victim be allowed to say "Stop! I'm not perfect, but I'm trying! Back off and let me be the best I can! Let me learn who I am, without being picked on and yelled at and scorned and mocked, and once I know who I am, then I can decide if I like it, or figure out what I want to change!"

Would not most victims agree that contempt, mockery, and unbridled criticism are among the worst ways to create positive change?

Ah, but the rules often change... when the victim is one's self.

"it's for your own good"
"the real world is hard, so I have to be hard"
"it's what you need"
"I just want you to live up to your potential"

So harsh and ugly when laid bare, when seen in retrospect, where the full extent of the damage done is visible.

And yet they're done to and by the self with impunity, dozens of times a day, by millions of people across the world... the only time when being a cruel abuser is considered acceptable... or even, sometimes, a virtue!

Crazy world we live in, isn't it?

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