The exaggeration of SELF

Self is the new buzz word these days, selflove, selfcare, self-esteem, self-focus, knowledge of self, self self, self. While understanding yourself and caring for yourself is always a beautiful thing sometimes overdoing it or exaggerating the focus on self will create the inverse of the desired outcome.  An exaggerated focus on self will not build your self-esteem,  constantly focusing on one’s self usually creates a position of vulnerability.  It can place you on a pedestal or a perch that you have to defend and maintain. When on the top people are constantly looking around to see who is or is not on their level and judging people accordingly. Unconsciously and sometimes consciously you begin making personal comparisons, especially to those perceived to be of lower value, to make sure to maintain a position above them. This creates a mindset that says “they don’t deserve to be on top” that only I and perhaps others like me deserve to be there. Again, this is a very vulnerable position to put yourself in. One would think being perched at the top would be the goal the dream but when you derive your personal value from that position there is lots of opportunity for the fall. What happens when someone you believe doesn’t deserve to be there is sitting right next to you or worse just above you? Often people in this position take it as a personal attack.

When one is attacked, they become the victim and the other person the villain, even though all the other person did was to simply attain the same level of achievement. Everything is based on the “victims” perspective, and there must be some nefarious explanation for how a lower person was able to make the climb. What others can achieve or do is based off this twisted world view and is experienced as an ongoing disrespectful action against those that rightfully belong, perpetrated by those who do not. So yes, it’s still Us vs Them, and any time a Them has a different opinion or disagreement with Us its read as an intentional attempt to dethrone Us. The smallest transgressions are deemed as disgraceful, attempts to cheat, or even deliberate efforts to hurt Us personally.

There need be no evidence to support such ideas because people in the Us group KNOW how Thems think and more specifically, they know what they think of Us. People defending their position will often believe that they can read people and usually believe they know what others think and feel about them. We humans will use this perceived knowledge to create negative opinions of ourselves from other people’s perspectives. Thus, projecting our own negative thoughts from our mind onto them and allowing them to aggressively (yet metaphorically) punch us in the gut! This is a good example of how the executive brain region can create an entire imagined scenario and send a signal down to the amygdala and generate a full-on stress response. Internally this situation can produce the same level of hormones as someone physically attacking you, even though it is all a fallacy. Reality or not people are walking around the mall, parks, the office, and just about anywhere in full on fight mode over things they imagined or dreamed up in their head.

This is the negative framework through which many people experience the world.  Unbeknownst most of us these frames or boxes are placed around individuals or groups and dictate the outcome of most interactions before we can utter the words “good morning”.

This article is a part of a series focused on the analysis and origins of hate: 

1. What Is Hate? Published 01.14.20215. Social Darwinism Published 02.25.21
2. So, What’s The Plan? Published 01.21.20216. Selective Breeding Published 03.04.21
3. How to Make Mutant Published 01.28.20217. Us vs. Them Published 03.11.21
4. Don’t Take it Personal Published 02.04.21 8.Love Published 03.18.21
  1. Beck, A. T. (2000). Prisoners of Hate: The Cognitive Basis of Anger, Hostility, and Violence (1st ed.). Harper Perennial.
  2. Sapolsky, R. M. (2018). Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (Illustrated ed.). Penguin Books.

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