There are times we don’t make progress in our work because something in our personal lives is holding us back. We may not feel worthy of the dreams you have for yourself. Even if we realize that this is the starting point of many heroic stories you find it difficult to place yourself in those stories. So, this is something we must begin to gain control of in ourselves. Our own dignity is worth cultivating, and that must begin within each of us.
I believe that there is nothing that can happen to us in life that can keep us from “starting over.” I don’t mean physically. Aging and any physical damage to our bodies are obstacles to be overcome. What I am talking about are things that damage our psyche and our spirit.
Especially now, in the new “Cancel Culture,” where people are bullied out of their jobs and are often cut off from family and friends there is so much fear of being singled out for humiliation. Many of us, who are of the baby Boomer generation, feel fortunate that the worst antics of our youth reside in our friends’ memories and not on video online somewhere. Still, we are all vulnerable. Our words can be taken out of context. We could be caught on cell phone video at our worst. We are all worried about being judged in a bad light.
Life, even at its worse, goes on. Even at our lowest point, we must move and think and start again. It may a great effort, but it must be made every day.
We must have faith we can return to life, though it may be different than it was before. The human spirit can overcome terrible events. It’s important that we keep that thought close to us when anxiety threatens to overwhelm our minds.
If there is something that you have done that is wrong and continue to do, even if you were compelled to do it because of your circumstances, then you must struggle to change that part of your life. If you can find help then get it.
Sometimes, I believe we are so close to our pain that we cannot determine why we do things we do not want to do. It can take years to figure out exactly how much guilt belongs to us and how much falls to others. But, if you are engaged in behavior that is harmful to yourself or to others, it will become your fault if you do not make an effort to change that behavior.
There is an old word that one hardly hears anymore. The word is “chastity.” Most people only know that it means refraining from sex. It does, but it also has other meanings.
Definition of chastity
1: the quality or state of being chaste: such as
- a: abstention from unlawful sexual intercourse
- b: abstention from all sexual intercourse The priest took a vow of chastity.
- c: purity in conduct and intention… sought to protect her threatened chastity
- d: restraint and simplicity in design or expression… describes the familiar campaigns with an admirable chastity of diction.— Richard Brookhiser
2: personal integrity
In Western culture, the Christian Church centered much of its discipline around discipline in matters of sex, so that many of our words involving restraint and prudence in our daily affairs have a sexual connotation associated with them. But, discipline in our sexual lives is only a starting point in building up personal integrity. The liberating truth undergirding the discipline of chastity is that you are a human being worthy of respect and that other humans are also worthy of that same respect.
But, perhaps your problem is not something you feel you can control. If you are depressed, under personal attack or experiencing grief, even simple pleasures are difficult to enjoy. Suffering is not only mental, but can be physical. You should seek help if you find yourself in this state.
If events are not your fault you cannot always shake the feeling that you carry some guilt. Being a victim of another’s malice still makes you feel as if you caused it to happen. The younger you are when are when something harmful has happened to you, the harder it is to overcome the trauma. Shame, even if irrational, can make you believe that you are unworthy of love. That belief is something that you must fight every day. Remember, if you love, then you are worthy of love in return.
I do know, from my own experience, it’s hard to think straight when your whole being is in great pain. If you are a reader, it can be helpful to learn how other people who were completely crushed in spirit found a way out of that very dark place.
In my own searching for guidance, I found this book helpful: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
(Please note that I get a commission if you click on this link)
Amazon Book Description:
Internationally renowned psychiatrist, Viktor E. Frankl, endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps. During, and partly because of, his suffering, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man’s primary motivational force is his search for meaning.
Man’s Search for Meaning is more than a story of Viktor E. Frankl’s triumph: it is a remarkable blend of science and humanism and an introduction to the most significant psychological movement of our day.
Dr. Frankl survived the Nazi death camps. Anyone who has experienced deep trauma will undoubtedly see themselves in his experience. He doesn’t hold back in describing the horror of what he experienced there and his own response to it. He also offers concrete advice on how to pull yourself out of severe depression about your own situation.
Whatever is keeping you down and interfering with your life, whatever is causing you pain, cannot control you forever. You must work to see the dignity in yourself and work to protect it as best you can. It is never too late to restore dignity to your life.
And you can start now. And if you fail, being again tomorrow. Discipline and self worth – your personal conduct and your own view of yourself – is something you can learn to control. No one can take it from you.
It’s your life, it’s your decision. Don’t let Cancel Culture get you down.
Until next time. 🙂