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The Big Lie (guest post)

March 31, 2021

This is a post written by my friend Shea Emma Fett on her personal blog on January 16,2015. She has given me permission to repost some of her essays here as guest posts.

Most of us will do the most damage to others when we are in pain. Not when we’re angry or bitter or vengeful. No. I will hurt other people, I will drain other people, I will fail other people and I will fail to consider other people the most when I am hurting the most.

And I truly believe that the only way out of toxic self focus is loving self focus. I believe that the only way you can regain the capacity to see other people and to care for other people is to see and care for yourself.

And the interesting thing to me, is that when faced with that reality, I fought tooth and nail to discard it. It’s a pile of cliched self help bullshit — it’s just a justification for selfishness and self indulgence, I thought.

It was trivial for me to accept the harm that my self hatred did to me, I bore it stoically. And even when faced with the harm it did to people who cared about me, I still wanted to cling to it. Because self hatred felt noble, and self care felt selfish, and I wanted to believe that I was noble, and so my identity became more important than the reality of what was happening.

And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think there’s an intentional mind-fuck that most of us have been subject to, that keeps us from showing ourselves compassion and acceptance. It keeps us from setting boundaries and asking for what we need and filling our tanks up. It keeps us from getting angry at how we’re treated, and demanding that we be treated better. Ironically, because we’ve been told that our self hatred makes us better than our self love ever could.

But that’s a lie. From every angle. I’m quite certain of it now.

“Whispering Little White Lies,” © Danny O’Connor 2012, used under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence.

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