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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.

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