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Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.
– Wilfred Peterson, author
To some this quote will sound like a load of namby-pamby crap for addle-brained self-delusional wimps. As it happens, this article is about them. Not for them because they believe that everything is right with the world as they see it.
We have two kinds of people who live with more than their share of fear. One acknowledges it, the other pretends it doesn’t exist.
We’re more than familiar with the phobias, such as claustrophobia and agoraphobia. We’re a little less familiar with those people who live in fear of failure, or being hurt or of being criticized. They’re around us but we don’t see much of this fear because they learn to disguise it well.
What few of us may realize is that the people who seem least afraid of anything, who act aggressively, who bully others and who actively and consciously try to put down or defeat others as signs of their own power have their own fears.
The greatest of their fears is that they may be found out. Found out about being inadequate, incompetent or unprepared for whatever task they must do. To compensate for this fear they overdo behaviour in the opposite direction. They act the exact opposite of what they feel deep inside.
They exude confidence–even overconfidence–between bouts of aggressive behaviour, but it’s more bravado than reality. Mostly this gives them time to figure out who to blame for the next thing that goes wrong.
They always blame others for what goes wrong. Not only do they not admit ever having done anything wrong, the ones who are better at covering their true selves refuse to address the possibility that they have done something wrong. They won’t even talk about it.
Witness some politicians when appearing in court, or civil servants appearing in front of a committee of government. The upper level ones act as if its beneath them to have to be there, let alone consider the possibility that they have done something wrong. Their underlings or associates always did whatever is wrong, if anything.
Big business executives who act arrogant enough that we think they must eat razor blades for breakfast are really like soured butterscotch pudding inside. The longer they are able to act that way, the deeper those true feelings sink. They actually convince themselves that they are as superior to the rest of the world as they act.
You don’t have to imagine Donald Trump in front of a criminal court when told he is guilty of something (“You’re fired!”). We have (former) Canadian executive–now a British Lord–Conrad Black whose trial is still going on in Chicago as of this writing. The man acts as if he can’t even imagine why anyone think he has done anything wrong.
Bigots are nothing more than bullies that don’t want to get their hands dirty. Advocates of political correctness, for the most part, are bigots with polished shoes and expensive hairdos. They act as if they are better than the common rabble because they have convinced themselves they are. Their act covers their insecurities, their fears.
The last thing these people could do is what Wilfred Peterson advised, to love themselves. Mostly they love money or power, or both. Secretly they hate themselves, though they would never admit this, even to their therapists.
Now you know those hubris-filled arrogant windbags that act superior deep down believe that they must never allow themselves to have their china faces crack or they will reveal their core of slimy mush.
Feel better? I do now that I have that out. But I need to rinse out my mouth to get the bad taste out. I’d rather think about pleasant people who love themselves.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how to give children the knowledge and skills they need so that they don’t turn to anti-social activities and behaviour in reaction to their ignorance and unfulfilled needs.
Learn more at http://billallin.com