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Sunday, January 30, 2011

LVIII. Stinkin Thinkin

Dr. Phil McGraw, made famous by appearing on Oprah, has a saying he uses when he hears someone not making rational decisions. The decisions people make may allow them to get what they want but in the end it has negative results. He calls it "stinkin thinkin". The following is pretty much a real conversation. It may not be verbatim but the idea is still easy to grasp onto. There is a little bit of stinkin thinkin, but the lesson comes from what you may not hear at first.

Teen: I am going to get my ears gauged.
Adult: Why?
Teen: So I can stand out and tell the world it is wrong to judge me.
Adult: (sarcastically) So you want to do this to get back at the world?
Teen: Yeah, in a way.
Adult: Why do you want to get back at the world?
Teen: I want to send a message to some people. People judge and it's all wrong to do so I want to do this to show they are wrong. I would like to get some tattoos too.
Adult: What did the world do to you that you want to get back at it?
Teen: Well, I just want to show that all people are different and that no one should judge anybody.
Adult: But if you do this on purpose, you force people into judging you. When you walk in for a job interview looking like that (with gauges) you already forced someone into making a judgement.
Teen: But that is what I am trying to show them.
Adult: You realize it is mutilation.
Teen: No it's not. It's just a way of showing who you are.
Adult: So when does piercing become mutilation, instead of decoration? What about piercing the tongue?
Teen: No. If they want to do it, it's okay.
Adult: What about splitting the tongue like a snake, like that one guy?
Teen: That's weird though.
Adult: So would you ever date a girl who split her tongue?
Teen: No I don't want to go that far.
Adult: Isn't that judging?

Stinkin thinkin. He couldn't hear or see that he was splitting hairs and doing the same thing that he didn't want people to do to him. Why would he do that to himself to begin with? Why would a child feel the need to "stand out" the way he wants to?

After hearing this conversation you learn it is not about decoration like just the piercing of an ear that has no feeling. You learn it is not about judging as the teen tries to say it is. You learn it is not about being your own individual. If you really listened to the teen you would hear what the teen is really trying to say. He said it right up front but tried to mask it as something else. It is about getting back at the world. Not the whole world, but his part of it. And the question then rises, what is so strange about his world that makes him want to mutilate himself? One place being pierced may be adornment. Two places may be individuality. But when you get multiple piercings then it deals with your mind set. The same with tattoos. Nothing is wrong with getting something that says who you are. If you get a tiger on your chest, okay. Mother on your arm. A rose on your derriere. Big deal. But when it starts to become an addiction, or when it starts to become an outlet for life, or to "show the world" something, then it is more about a problem in your mind or heart rather than art.

The problem is many people use these things as an outlet for pain in their life. They realize the pain they have inside will not heal with the life they have to live. So they hurt themselves on the outside because they know those will heal. And if they don't then they can always look at the scar and know that at least it's not on the inside. One of these actions leads to another. And many teens start to do other things besides piercing or inking. They turn to cutting. That is stinkin thinkin.

Take a look at the following video. Don't just watch. Listen. http://vodpod.com/watch/1527797-cut-by-plumb

We hear but we do not listen to those who hurt. We see but do not act. We watch but we do not learn. We are afraid to do anything because of the times we live in for fear of judging.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

LVII. No More Heroes

Definition of Hero:  a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his/her brave deeds and noble qualities.

But that definition still leaves a very important thing out of what a hero is.  That just explains what they do.  The Man of Steel, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and Spider Man. What do they all have in common? They are known comic heroes in American culture. They all have special powers and/or abilities beyond normal capacity of a human being (flying, speed, suits of armor, climbing walls). They all have gadgets that they have created or that were made specially for them (fortress of fortitude, bat belt, lasso of truth). But these are not what makes them heroes.  All of this just explains the first part of the definition.  The second part is perhaps the more important.

All of the above did (and do) brave deeds.  They have enough courage to stand up to those who are defiant.  Their brave deeds cause stories about them to spread.  Fables, folklore, and legends are born with stories of great deeds.  But sometimes brave deeds are only brought on by the situation.  Not taking away from the bravery but there is even more to the definition of hero that needs expansion.

Noble qualities.  All of the above had something about their character that makes them heroes more than their special abilities, or even their brave deeds.  They all showed character above reputation.  They showed moral standard is more important than instant gratification.  There was something about them that made them put themselves last.  They chose to help others.  They chose to stand up.  They chose to be committed to their cause.  They chose to do what is right!

We don't have any more heroes in this world.  That does not mean that policemen, firemen, or soldiers are not of this nature.  They need to be respected, cheered, and helped in any way.  This is referring to the ordinary person.  The average person doesn't know how to be heroes anymore.  They don't know how because they don't know how to be unselfish.  They don't know about commitment.  We don't know how to do what is right.  Actually, that is not accurate.  We choose not to do what is right.  We choose to do the easy things.  We choose to do the thing that will benefit us the most.

The worst thing about all of this is we live as though there is no consequence.  We live without regard to anyone around us.  We think nothing we do affects anyone around us and that is the complete falsehood or rationalization of our actions.  Everything we do affects others.  If you physically interact with people, that is obvious you have affected them.  If you verbally interact with people, you have affected them.  We know this and we still choose to hurt others with our actions and/or words.  And by the way, words sometimes hurt worse.  Sticks and stones may break my bones but your words cut right through me.

But what people do not understand is that the things we do to ourselves, even though there is no interaction with others, still affects those around us.  You do drugs?  You just hurt someone.  You neglect you children by not paying support?  You just hurt someone.  You are full of hate?  You just hurt someone.  You can't handle commitment?  You just hurt someone.  No matter what we do our action whether done by commission or omission affect ourselves and others.  Everything we do has a consequence.  And here is the most important part of this whole thought.  Our actions are our own responsibility.  Stop blaming others for your whole life.

Anything that takes actual commitment and/or guts to follow through with has an easy way out. Or at least people take the easy way out. No one wants to fight for what is right anymore. If the Batman was real in today's time, he would have been sued by the ACLU. There is no such things as heroes today because we have wimped out of everyday life.

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