Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Some Words from Carolyn Hax

The quote below is from Carolyn Hax's column yesterday. We all could do better, a lot better, at what she says:

"There's also the bigger issue of a finger-pointing culture, which I wish would just die:

If you're sick, then it's your fault for being irresponsible.

If you're poor, then it's your fault for being lazy or choosing the wrong line of work.

If your kids screw up, then you're a bad parent.

If you're lonely, then you must not treat people well.

Not only is this a fundamental breakdown of compassion, but it's also rooted in magical thinking — that if you just do all the right things, then everything will turn out right for you. That's not how life works.

We can do some things to help ourselves, protect ourselves, advance ourselves — but lightning still strikes when it wants to. Institutions and environments have their say. And we all make mistakes, but the price per mistake is often randomly assigned and rarely, if ever, the same from one person to the next.

It's such a tempting emotional habit to adopt, though, of seeing misfortune and then finding ways to tell ourselves why that couldn't possibly happen to us — or worse, why our superior selves and superior choices have lifted us above the possibility of such a fate.

We’d be warmer people and have a better-functioning society if we had the courage to look at misfortune and immediately connect to how that could happen to us — and be less self-congratulatory about why it didn’t. That’s how a society learns to act collectively toward a common good, instead of hoarding and yelling and culture-warring."--Carolyn Hax July 2021

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