Monthly Archives: August 2015

Procrastination When Writing is Essentially Laziness Only More Complicated

I procrastinate when I write. I have several projects I am currently working on (or should be working on) but at times I find it really difficult to sit down to actually write. Often it is far easier to find something else to do or simply just put it off.

Part of me thinks my propensity to procrastinate is laziness. That is, my procrastination is a moral failing. This is shame talking of course and feels like a very shallow interpretation of what is really going on.

Part of me thinks my propensity to procrastinate is fear based. That is, I have a subconscious fear of accomplishment or success and this fear undermines my will to actually sit down and do the work.

Then again, perhaps the fear and the shame work hand in hand. My shame makes me think I do not deserve success. As such, I fear the punishment I will receive upon achieving success. Therefore I sabotage my efforts to work so that I do not have to face this eventuality. The problem with this line of thinking is that I will feel ashamed for not writing as well. So by not achieving for fear of experiencing shame upon achieving I end up feeling shame for not working. Why is one shame based fear more scary than the other?

Perhaps then it comes back to laziness. It is easier to experience the shame of non achievement than it is to experience the shame of achieving simply because achieving requires work and not achieving does not.

Part of me does not believe these reasons (laziness, fear or the combination of the two) is the correct answer. Perhaps the answer is that I simply do not want to sit down and write. I do not enjoy the experience and so therefore I avoid doing it. But at the same time there is definitely a part of me that wants to write or at least feels like I should be writing. This might be shame talking. That is, shame convinces me that I should be performing tasks I do not want to perform and then makes me feel ashamed for not performing these tasks. The counter argument is that I have had wonderful experiences writing in the past. When I am in the “flow state” and the ideas come easily it feels physically good. I also enjoy the satisfaction of creating a finished product and receiving positive feedback. Actually any feedback is enjoyable but positive feedback is especially enjoyable.

Of course the enjoyment of feedback is ego driven. This is another shame based drive but not necessarily related to procrastination. It is really the flip side of the shame driven side of procrastination.

Perhaps I like the flow states but realize they do not happen that often. As such I figure the effort of writing is more likely to not be enjoyable so I tend to avoid it. Maybe this is the same thing a laziness only a little more complicated than it seems at first glance.

39 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

I used to think the phrase “Judge not lest ye be judged” means “Don’t judge other people because you then open the door to be judged yourself.”

Now I think it means “Don’t judge other people because then you will judge yourself.”

The “judgment” referred to in this phrase does not mean legal judgment exercised by a judge or a jury in a courtroom. Legal judgment is conscious and (in theory) exercised for the best interest of society.

Nor does the judgment in this phrase refer to good judgment exercised by a person facing a moral dilemma. This type of judgment is also exercised consciously and for a moral purpose.

The phrase “Judge not lest ye be judged” refers to the ego driven and shame based judgment. This judgment takes the form of criticism, gossip and complaining. This type of judgment is exercised unconsciously and does not serve a moral purpose. Its true purpose (although typically clothed in the trappings of morality) is to make the judge feel better by putting another person down.

The source of this judgment is “constant criticizer.” This is the internal voice that replays prior embarrassments in your mind, tells you that you are not allowed to do certain things or that what you are doing you are doing wrong. This constant criticism does not feel good physically and mentally. The only way to feel better is to criticize someone else.

This form of judgment generates negative emotions such as vanity, shame, defensiveness, anger and depression. These feelings are generated both in the judge and the person being judged. This negative energy feeds on itself, growing and spreading to other people creating a negative feedback loop.

I used to work with a very negative woman. She constantly criticized the company we worked for and our supervisors. She complained about the work we performed. She talked about our co-workers behind their backs. One day she came into the office with the most depressed expression on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she told me she hated herself. I realized at that point that she judged herself with the equal intensity that she judged everyone else. When I saw this in her I recognized it in myself. The constant criticizer performs both functions. In other words there is no difference between self judgment and judgment of others. It comes from the same place.

The constant criticizer is like a foreign entity that takes possession of your thought process. Because it is unconscious, if you do not make the conscious decision to not be judgmental the constant criticizer will think for you. The more you allow yourself to judge the stronger it becomes. Awareness and conscious decision-making is the key to starving the beast that is the constant criticizer.

This is what “judge not lest ye be judged” truly means. If you allow yourself to be ruled by the constant criticizer and cede control of your thought process to it you will end up judging yourself. The more you judge the stronger it becomes. Only by making the conscious decision to not be judgmental will reverse this process.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Shame is Self-Annihilation

Shame is the hatred of the self or at least the belief that the self deserves punishment. Not all shame is bad or inappropriate. In fact, shame can be healthy when one commits a bad act and seeks to atone for that act. In this circumstance shame informs the self that the self has committed a bad act. Shame becomes a problem when it expands beyond this role and dominates a person’s life and infiltrates every moment of existence. When shame expands beyond its useful role it becomes difficult to live a moral life according to Christian morality as defined by Jesus. Specifically, when asked in the Gospel of Matthew which is the greatest commandment Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (MT 22:36-40).

A person I recently interacted with who is a self-avowed white supremacist and Christian whom I believe to be shame driven expressed that because he does not love himself he is not required to love his (presumably non-white) neighbor. I found this to be a clever loop-hole but it ultimately fails for two major reasons.

First, to love God (the first and most important commandment which even my white supremacist acquaintance would acknowledge) he must also love God’s creation which is an extension and reflection of God. God’s creation includes one’s self and his neighbors. Certainly this love is not unconditional. In order to love something whole heartedly (as the greatest commandment requires) the love cannot come from a place of obligation. The heart must have the free will to choose to love or to not love. To love out of obligation is merely going through the motions, is not whole-hearted and lacks real value.

Second, in the absence of self-love, shame will expand beyond its useful role because in this environment shame does not serve to bring the self back from error but rather to annihilate and perpetually punish the self. With this type of shame naturally comes comparison to others, resentment of others and jealousy of others. In this environment it is impossible to love one’s neighbor or one’s self. I believe if one cannot love himself he cannot truly love God. Life becomes joyless and hateful to the self and the others with whom he interacts. Under these circumstances there is no room for the Holy Spirit to enter the heart. This is self-annihilation. According to Saint Paul the fruit of the Holy Spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. (Gal 5:22-23). None of these fruits can ripen in an environment of shame and hatred for the self and one’s neighbor.

Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the Book of Genesis specifically states “they were both naked … and were not ashamed.” (Gen 2:25). But when they ate from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they became aware of their nakedness, became ashamed, covered themselves and hid from God. (Gen 3:7-10). It was shame that separated man from God since the very beginning. It is also shame that separates man from himself and his neighbor (extensions of God). This is why shame (the absence of self-love) is ultimately self-annihilating.

13 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Hierarchy and Blame Attract Shame Driven People

Shame driven people are attracted to hierarchical organizations that espouse “us against them” mentalities. The reason is simple. The only way for the shame driven person to feel good about himself is to shame others and thereby place himself higher on the hierarchy existing in his mind.

Two good examples of shame driven organizations are the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. Both organizations arose out of environments of defeat giving rise to low self-esteem (i.e., shame). The Nazis rose to power after Germany’s defeat in World War I. The Ku Klux Klan arose after the Confederate States’ defeat in the American Civil War. It is easy to see how the environment in both situations gave rise to resentment and shame and thus the need for the inhabitants of these environments to feel good about themselves again. Both organizations became attractive to shame driven people because they offered an opportunity to rewrite the directionless narrative of defeat into something more organized and aspirational.

These organizations accomplished this in part by creating scapegoats to blame for their problems. The Nazi’s blamed the Jews for Germany’s defeat and societal problems in the time between World War I and II. The Ku Klux Klan blamed and continues to blame the non white races for what they perceive to be the decay of American civil and moral society.

Consistent with this theme is shame’s love of uniforms and rank. The uniforms identify the shame driven individual as part of a larger group and cloaks them with power and prestige than they would not otherwise possess on their own. The rank insignia clearly designates their place on the hierarchy within the group. But more than this, the uniform masks their identity allowing their true self to hide from the pain of shame.

Shame itself is completely ego driven. It is highly judgmental. It constantly compares itself to other things. It constantly compares other things to each other. For example it is common for the shame driven person to say, “things were better in the past than they are now.” A shame driven person will point to other groups and say, “I am right, they are wrong.” Once this judgment is made, it then becomes easy to hate the other group and attempt to impose their will upon them through shame and bullying. On the international scale you might see one country invade another because they believe themselves to occupy a higher rung on the hierarchy of nations.

Of course shame driven people will never admit their real motivation is to deaden the pain of shame. This would only bring about more shame and pain (in the short run). It is far easier (although ultimately less effective) to hide in groups and uniforms blaming others for their problems while claiming to act in the name of morality. From this perspective they can feel better (relatively) about themselves. Ultimately, however, shame never leads to victory. In most cases it subconsciously self-sabotages and leads to self-annihilation.

16 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized