Thursday, June 25, 2009

Judge and prepare to be judged

That's Ayn Rand's corollary to Jesus' "Judge not that ye be not judged."

So, here's the deal. I believe that, but I've done very little to prepare to be judged. I take it pretty easy; others have paved my path with marshmellows, really. Maybe people mistake my tendency to say, "you don't have to do that" for politeness and that just encourages them to do more, but the fact is that I feel that favors done for me are debts that I'll never be able to repay. I'm getting better at feeling and expressing gratitude, but that sort of thing still goes on in my head. People do get the message eventually, and stop doing the things that usually ingratiate them with others. Unfortunately, they have no idea what to do to ingratiate themselves with me.

It would be good if I had any idea what to tell them. Or how. Hence the shrink. I'm not sure if this one will work out, but that's the way it goes sometimes, I'm told.

Did anyone think I was going to write a brilliant essay today? Why should today be any different? Lol.

I judge myself harshly for not living up to values that I can respect. The temptation there is to judge others equally harshly; to displace my anger at myself onto others who don't live up to my values. I try not to do that, but I'm afraid I too often give the impression that I do. There are people who live up to my values, I think. The younger boy does. The older boy has, and, hopefully is on his way to doing it again. Most business men and women do. As far as I know, all of the ones I've met do, but I'll leave room for any hidden Ken Lays in the bunch.

I fear their judgment. I hide my values, so that people can't judge me by them, but the people who are already living by them... I fear their disapproval.

Saying "F___ 'em!" doesn't cut it as a way to rebuild me self-esteem. I still admire entrepreneurs, inventors, businessmen and builders...creators of beautiful (and/or useful) things...and I know that I'm not one of them.

But I could be...if I could just latch onto whatever the hell it is that launches people to great deeds.

You know what? That translates to "if I could figure out how to feel like it."

People smile at daughter! smiles at me... and I think, "You don't know me very well, or you'd know I don't deserve that beautiful gift."

All right, I think I just succumbed to the temptation to write black poetry rather than explore my feelings. That doesn't ring true at all. But I scared something inside me. Is it my true self? Or is it the false self - the defensive mask, created to protect me? From what?

The first betrayal I can remember was in Kindergarten. But... No, come to think of it, though I won every real fight with that kid afterward, I could never best him at slinging insults. And there was a bully before that. Not Ron. But several of us bested that one.

Thank you, doctor. That was helpful.


The probligo said...

Spoken from the heart, Al. Thank you.

I need to contemplate before speaking.

Starsplash said...

What is your E-Mail Al? It is about Mom. She has been in the hospital all week.

Al said...

It took me an hour and a half to write that. It was weird to reread it in two minutes just now. All the associations were there, but I raced paced them. It didn't feel better that way. It felt like I was ignoring important shit.

If you want to fix the car, you've got to look under the hood and get your hands dirty. That's my excuse.

Al said...

T. F. Stern said...

Al, I read your thoughts and the idea occurred to me that I'd read something very similar before except it was in the Book of Mormon.

It starts in 2 Nep 4: 16-35

Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
22 He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.
25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.
26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the brock of my salvation.
31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I bask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

I suppose what I'm saying is that there is a good man lurking inside all your doubts as you attempt to reconcile all that is or was in your life.

The probligo said...

Al, I don't know that there is much that I can add other than the thought that what I hear, more than anything, is a good man beating up on himself.

Lone Wolf said...

Damn. Reading this was like reading my own thoughts save a few details. If you discover any of the secrets your looking for please share them with me.

Lone Wolf said...

I'm not sure if my first comment was posted or not. Damn interwebs. I to agree with the precect, "Judge and prepare to be judged." I to am horrible at the whole "preparing" part. I've got the "judge" part down pat though. Thoreau said "to make a deep mental path we must think over and over again the kinds of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives". "Prepare to be judged" is one thought that i wished dominated my life. I keep forgetting though.