Monday, April 10, 2017

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Vanquishing my Oppressor ...

The cry of the unfulfilled, the uninspired … ’Others are oppressing me!”
Many people that think like this also think that all the things going wrong in their lives are the result of other people’s doing. I have always, for as long as I can remember, been bemused by this kind of thinking. People often find it very, very difficult to own their personal set of circumstances … ie: the notion that their lot in life may have something to do with their choices, their decisions, their own actions (or inactions) and how they see themselves.

Most of the time, such people don’t fully understand what real oppression is. Oppressive regimes and theocracies are real … oppressive laws are real … but these things are most often found in other countries; and are experienced in their fullness on an hour by hour, day by day basis by the people who live there. Almost everyone reading this post most likely lives in a place where freedoms are often taken for granted. Most of us are fortunate in the extreme!

If things are not going well in our lives, it may be worthwhile taking a look within; rather than looking outward for someone or something to blame. There are many things we cannot control, that is true … but here’s the point, there are so, so many things that we can control. There is also this point: many people seem to expend a considerable amount of energy in yelling and screaming about their ‘rights being infringed upon’, about how the ‘system is rigged’, about how ‘hard their lot is’; about how ‘entitled’ they are - rather than directing that energy toward bettering themselves, or contributing to the world in a meaningful way, or acquiring skills that can be useful in life. Energy is in limited supply; yelling, ranting and whining are basically just kid-strategies.

Feeling bad, very often, is a choice! As the ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus once said “If someone succeeds in provoking you, realise that your mind is complicit in the provocation.” Again, sticks and stones …



JBW

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