January 19, 2024

"Self harm, my soul, you are doing self harm..."

I was doing some reading this morning.

I wanted to put out some sort of letter today. And I have three upcoming ideas for the next epistles letters, but they haven’t had enough time to bake yet.

So, as I was reading I kept my eyes open for any idea that stood out.

And I came across this idea: self-harm of the soul.

It’s no secret we humans tend to be unkind, ungrateful, and hateful.

To ourselves and others.

But, rarely if ever do we think of this as self-harm.

Yes I have heard and follow the idea that, “hate is like drinking poison and hoping that the other person dies.”

But they way this idea was presented, made me think of it in the same realm as bodily-harm.

Regardless this idea stuck out to me.

The idea that:

We are as in control and aware of self-harm to the soul, as we are to self-harm to the body.

So, I want to offer up one idea to help overcome a very common form of self-harm to the soul:

As animals we are inclined to see the bad and the dangers of the world. It’s a protective feature weaved into our animalistic DNA to keep us alive. If we didn’t have this acute sense and pre-sense of the bad and the dangerous we would have died out millennia ago.

However, in the modern world (for most of us) the dangers have shift. Instead of worrying about bears and cold, we worry about paying the bills. This is because we perceive it the same way. We perceive paying the bills as survival.

Which means we perceive all the surrounding and precursory actions of attaining and maintaining money the same as hunting food, making fire, etc.

This makes us highly aware and effected by any failures we have in pursuit of a better paycheck (or work).

And this is why a failed promotion hurts so bad and it’s why working a paycheck to paycheck job hurts so bad. In both cases we are living on the edge of survival and thus fearing the protentional dangers.

Now that was a long drawn out explanation to offer this perspective shift on failure:

As long as you tried you didn’t fail.

If you didn’t try you failed.

However, if you’ve tried and didn’t achieve your goal, you didn’t fail at the task.

You failed at correctly identifying your ability level, or you failed at identifying what the true outcome would be.

With this in mind, now consider every ‘failure’ as a supporting action that gives you information on your ability and proper actions to take going forward.

Here’s the passage that inspired this:

Self-harm, my soul, you are doing self-harm: and you will have no more opportunity for self-respect. Life for each of us is a mere moment, and this life of yours is nearly over, while you still show yourself no honour, but let your own welfare depend on other people’s souls.

Marcus Aurelius

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a good rest of your Friday and enjoy your weekend!

P.S. the last issue was on discipline as an identity problem, check it out if you missed it.

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