Throughout my journey I have learned that we judge ourselves harshly. We can repress those feelings towards ourselves to where they come out later through judging someone else or self hatred. If you really felt good about yourself, you would not need a reason or even feel like judging another, especially ourselves. We judge ourselves when we feel we have done something against our standard moral code. Our moral code that we only think is permanent. We think that we put so much work into developing this character we play based on our perception of our beliefs, that it can’t be changed. It would cause too much pain and is too much work, we think. We cling to it as if we are so scared to start again. What we don’t realize is life will do that and it’s inevitable. Life will prompt you to change. Will you allow it or will you fight it and continue to suffer? It’s important to realize there will be no instant gratification and you will need to keep that in mind.
Life will throw situations at you that you never thought you’d be in and leave you with the choice in how to handle these situations. When we have to make choices that go beyond our present beliefs about right vs. wrong, we seem to think we did something wrong. Hence this judgement against ourselves. When our actions do not line up to our core beliefs and you have to act outside those beliefs, we feel separated from them and feel that we have done something terrible. But did we really do something terrible? Or were we just adapting to the game of life? Of course, it depends on the situation. I’m not talking about huge ethical dilemmas like murder, but rather our personal, self image type dilemmas. Although, that sounds like another story for another time. So many variations can come about in our personal lives and I’m sure everyone has a different one.
Anyway, this dilemma inside of us causes a great deal of suffering, if not most of it. We can’t avoid suffering but we can adapt. If you are suffering, take an intense look into your belief structure of right vs. wrong. Some of your beliefs may have been developed such a long time ago that they just became so natural you aren’t even aware of them. So, when you feel you are suffering, it is time to take a look at the very core and existence of these beliefs. Where did they come from? When did I develop this belief and Why? You may not even believe the same thing anymore but since you are so used to it you aren’t aware it is causing you to suffer. As we go through life, our lives and who we are constantly change. If you can’t adapt your belief systems to what you have learned, then you will deny any new information just to stay comfortable. And it will cause you suffering.
There have been many instances throughout the last couple years where I realized I had been holding on to fantasies, for example. Fantasies in which would never be a reality. So, when the world didn’t match up to what I imagined, I suffered. I realized I had adapted to beliefs as a child that were keeping me from growing. So I went back. I went back to the root of the problem. Where the fantasy first game into action and why. I realized it was time for an upgrade. Time to balance my fantasies with reality. To see the world as it truly was and that meant I had to re-wire my whole outlook. For example, the way people treat each other astonished me. I couldn’t understand that not everyone treated each other the way I would want to be treated. When I realized the world is full of cruel people due their own problems, I had to change my perspective. So I planted seeds of truth in their place. I realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought and I had been suffering for no reason at all. I learned that my old beliefs were causing me to suffer because I hadn’t changed them as I matured. So I was growing faster then my beliefs and they weren’t matching up and therefore, I suffered. I am now able to see the world as it is. There are cruel people and I will come into contact with them. This only led me to see that we all face this dilemma to an extent. This is why we don’t trust people. We encounter day in and day out all the cruelty of the world which leads us to believe we can’t trust anyone. But then what about the people that can be trusted? We tend to forget there are good people out in the world. This dilemma makes it difficult to distinguish who we can and cannot trust. I learned that there are people who treat others poorly but there are still people who do not. I thought to myself at one point, if I exist then other people like me must exist too. Then I realized that I had the potential to treat others poorly but choose not to. I learned when and if I do treat others poorly it is because I am suffering due to conflict between my actions and beliefs.
Furthermore, we suffer because we feel we have done something outside of our moral code. This whole life we have lived has been built inside the walls of our beliefs of right vs. wrong. That is how we make decisions. We must consider how our decisions will affect us after it’s all said and done. I’ve learned this is also where anxiety comes from. Anxiety comes about when we are not aligned with our moral codes of who and what we think we should be. That is just it, we shouldn’t have to think about who and what we want to be. This is a vicious cycle of trying to perfect the human condition as individuals. It will drive you mad if you try to be perfect, by trying to be this or trying to be that. It doesn’t matter how many articles you read in a magazine about the perfect way to do something, you will not always get it right the first time. In reality, we are human and therefore, we will always be in conflict with our beliefs and ourselves if we don’t realize that there is no right or wrong in which to perceive ourselves. And it all depends on the life that you have led. Therefore, there are as many different varieties of belief systems as there are people on this planet. It’s so complex but you can only navigate through your own system and understand yourself. And there is no black and white, here. You have to learn to just be. To let go of old beliefs and create new ones that match your current life.
Maybe when you look back to when you first developed a moral reasoning, you’ll notice it was because that’s what someone else said to believe. But as we grow and mature, we realize we are not what we once believed. We get so used to wanting to be what everyone else wants us to be because they told us to. I’ve learned this causes suffering because it covers up who we truly are and what we truly want as a person. If you are constantly clinging to beliefs that no longer serve you, you will never learn or change. I’m not talking about religious beliefs. I’m talking about what and who you have always believed yourself to be internally.
The more we learn, the more we must be aware of what we learn about ourselves. If we can’t align and balance the past with the present, then it causes us to split off and become so conflicted that we think there is something wrong with us psychologically. We blame ourselves instead of realizing that we were just handling life the best we knew how at the time. That’s why there is no right or wrong. I think there is only right or wrong once you become aware. If you have the knowledge that something is absolutely wrong and you keep doing it, then that is where the line is drawn, and it becomes “wrong.” For instance, if you are aware that judgement causes suffering and you do nothing to change it, then it is wrong for you to continue questioning why you are suffering. It is right to take in new information and apply it to your world now in order to make things right inside you. It is not necessary to suffer the same way your whole life.
Some people cling to their old beliefs so tightly that it defines them forever. They build onto the old instead of creating the new. Their whole lives are based on tragedy because they cannot look inside themselves long enough to realize that it can change. It’s always going to be there, the old beliefs, but they do not have to define you or cling to your existence. You can acknowledge their presence but know that you gained the knowledge through experience to know you do not have to suffer anymore. You can forgive yourself and realize judging yourself only causes harm. Eventually, the old will fall away and become a distant memory but will not affect you.
This is where most self-hatred stems from. We learn to hate ourselves because we are programmed to believe we have to be a certain way in order to be accepted. We think we have to be who everyone else says we have to be and when we cannot, we fall into the pit of self-hatred. This makes me question if we all are just walking around hating ourselves so therefore we hate everyone else. The reflection of our inner world to our outer worlds lingering in our vision and we know it, but repress it, therefore keep doing it. Not realizing it doesn’t have to be that way. But I’ve realized sometimes, people, even people you love, will fall into the abyss of self-hatred and never return no matter how much you love them or let them know what you really see in them. You see the flaws and ethical dilemmas they face, but you love them anyway. You know they can never reciprocate, but you love them anyway. It exists in all of us and you understand that, but it is up to the individual to decide if they will feed into it or not. No matter what you do, you cannot change a person, they must change it within themselves. I’ve spent years on people that I loved, thinking I could help them see all the good that I saw in them to no avail. Those wars are futile. If you spend too much time and energy on another person, you will lose yourself. You can and will become exactly what you were fighting against if you don’t learn you cannot change people. It can become a selfish act and if you really loved them, you’d let them go. Everyone has their own path with or without you.
When we go through experiences like this with other people, we tend to become something we are not. We can fall into the pit with them. But if we are lucky enough not to fall with them and instead let go, we find that we take a piece of them with us. This causes conflict in our belief systems in which we judge ourselves harshly due to our relationship with them, and the merging of belief systems that occurs. It is so subtle that we don’t even know what happened until after the seed they had planted sprouted roots and we supplied the sun in which they grew. It’s really important not to lose yourself because you think you love someone. This was a belief system I had to update and change in myself. My belief of what love was, was completely off the mark, that I had a lot of re-arranging to do with my belief system. I realized I not only had to change my idea of what love was, but also change the way I was absorbing the people’s I loved beliefs as well. I took pieces of everyone I loved with me and had to learn that they were not my pieces, but theirs.
Overall, I’ve learned when our actions, due to life circumstances, cause us to go outside our normal boundaries of morals, we tend to judge ourselves harshly, needlessly. It will manifest in our outer worlds in ways such as judging others and self harm/hatred. If we can overcome judging ourselves, and learn that our belief systems can change with some work, then we can ease our suffering. After all, we are all human, living an experience in which we have no control over, and who knows what we will be faced with next. We must be flexible enough to change with these experiences. This sometimes may constitute we change our beliefs to match who we are today while applying our new knowledge of who we are today. Don’t fall into the trap of self-hatred. There is a solution. You will have to search deep inside yourself for the place in which this judgement stems from, and it is not easy. In the end it is you and only you, that has to live with the choices you make. If you can see where you were coming from in the first place and then forgive yourself, then judgement can and will cease to exist.
(Copyright Kerrious 2014 with all rights reserved).