Are we what we think?
Since I read this post “A Certain Kind of Sadness” – and especially the comments – of Jen’s, I’ve been pondering this issue. The premise of the post is that we need to keep our power. Not give in to sadness, or feelings of powerlessnes. We need to take responsibility for our actions, our lives. I do agree with this. It is hard work. We need to do it. I’m still a work in progress. My new daily mantra is, “I am good enough”. I’m serious. I meditate on this phrase.
But look around you. There are a lot of f**^ed up people out there. They are sad, addicted, depressed, anxious… Mental illness seems almost epidemic. Watch Brene Brown’s latest Ted Talk on shame. Somehow, many of us have confused guilt with shame. Instead of thinking, I hurt your feelings, I’m sorry I DID a bad thing” we think, “I hurt your feelings, I’m sorry, I’m a bad person.” Giving into this shame diminshes our power. According to Brene, this is where depression, addiciton, bullying, eating disorders, etc. come from – shame. We are never good enough.
Yes, we have the power to change this. To change our thoughts…but…
I also think that we need to help others with this, especially children. I seem to always look at things from an education perspective – makes sense I guess. I also look at it from a political perspective – maybe because my BA is in Political Science. I see it as a problem that needs to be addressed by society.
I see so many children who have a fixed mindset – about themselves, about learning. Why? Sometimes it’s their background. Abusive. Controlling. Fixed mindset parents. Sometimes it seems we are just born this way.
I think it is our job as parents and teachers to help children to develop a growth mindset. Jen talks about helping her children. I’m trying with my children (it’s hard – I already see fixed mindset in my girls). I try with my students.
And, I try to help my friends when I can. I know I can’t change them or make them change their mindset. But I can help. That’s what I mean by a leg up. I don’t mean making excuses forever because ultimately we are all (adults) responsible for our own lives. I mean holding out a hand to another suffering human being.
Hmm. Does this mean they don’t take any responsibility? Does it allow them to continue making excuses? This is a tough issue and question. It’s similar to the question “does affirmative action help or hinder”, but even more complicated. We can’t oversimplify.
If I had more time I would definitely try to research this from a cultural perspective – I really wonder if other cultures (I include N. America, Aus, NZ & the UK in our culture) have different proportions of fixed/growth mindsets, shame and levels of depression, addiciton, etc.
I obviously did not express myself clearly in my comment on Jen’s post. I do fundamentally agree with this idea – I just think that somehow our culture/society subverts this and we need to do something. I haven’t fully formulated my thoughts and ideas and need research to do it properly. A project for summer.
What do you think?