GET REAL WITH ALL THOSE "SELFS"!
Gianni DeVincent Hayes, Ph.D
What I’m saying here is not going to win me any friends, but, hey, someone has to say it.
It’s all about our ”selves” and this thing we call “entitlement.”
The words and sentences I’ve put together are not posed against those who do try, who do stand up and accept their consequences, or those who are sick or even those who cannot get past their serious condition or problem. This is meant for most of us who want to get rich doing nothing and living a life of convenience.
It irritates me when I see completely healthy looking people hang a handicap sign on their rearview mirror, pull into a handicap slot, and then dash into the store. Granted, some people have invisible physical and mental challenges, while others are just plain lazy or too rushed to walk to the entranceway. Equally bad is when the so-called handicapped person has her husband drop her off in front of a store, and then he goes and parks into a handicapped spot when he’s perfectly healthy. Yet there is nothing left for the old man struggling to move his walker inch by inch from the far end of a parking lot to the store door because all the handicapped spots are taken.
Who do I bring this up? Because it leads to the issue of self-accountability. Consider the obese—not those who can’t help themselves because they have some underlying medical condition--but instead those who have eaten themselves to blimp size and are now getting handicap stickers or license plates, and special treatment like high-loaded medical care everyone else pays for through rising insurance premiums because the uncontrolled tubbies won’t practice self-discipline. They whine that their being fat and consuming a dozen eggs a day, or a loaf of bread, or a package of hot dogs is not their fault. I understand that there are many people who are overweight because of valid health reasons, and that there are some who look perfectly well enough to run a 4K when inside their chests their tickers aren’t cooperating . . . but to unfairly sabotage a disadvantaged person’s access—as in the case of the old man using a walker as cited above—because one’s too fat to walk, sounds like a personal problem to me…the problem of the person gorging himself or herself. People must start taking responsibility for themselves rather than blame doctors for not stopping them from eating too much, or cursing the food industry for making fattening food, or damning the restaurants for preparing and serving calorific meals. Our society does a lot of scapegoating and blame-projection.
I was unpleasantly plump once but didn’t hold anyone liable for my condition but me, myself, and I which is when I took control and disciplined myself to lose weight. I never would have thought of blaming my parents—though in some instances my mom would whip up deep fried foods, hot homemade breads, and fabulous deserts for a Sunday meal. I knew ultimately, though, that it was I who had to take hold of my monster and fight it, and that it was not the duty of my parents, or my doctors, or my friends, or the restaurants, or the MVA, or the grocery stores, or the farmers or food companies.
You’re living in poverty, you say, and can’t get yourself cleaned up to hunt for a job? That’s the employers’ fault, the rich people’s doing, the landlord’s cheapness, or society’s abandonment of you. No, it’s just you. Soap is cheap and polishes our bodies amazingly well. The Goodwill and other agencies exist to help those needing clean clothes and food. Many institutions offer scholarships and grants or reduced tuition to encourage the less fortunate to get a certificate in a specialty or an associate degree in a career field. There are volunteers willing to tutor the academically deficient. Nearly every educational system in every state offers GED classes for free or rock-bottom costs.
The point is that people need jobs, and they need ways to prepare themselves to get these jobs. Maybe you don’t qualify for a rocket science job, but work is work, and if you’re poor, you need to find ways to survive and become a productive citizen in an all too exploding population and limited employment due to unfair outsourcing. Still there is work, even if you think it’s “below you,” so stop blaming others and take hold of your “self,” swallow that unbecoming pride, and motivate and move yourself.
Oh, your four-room apartment is filthy? Isn’t cleanliness next to Godliness? There are also ways to clean up one’s living quarters to ward off infestation just as soap and water can “hygenisize” our faces and bodies. Even dollar-stores have cleaning equipment and supplies, so rather than wallowing in your state of affairs, you should be taking active roles in improving or fixing them. Doing nothing about your situation and waiting for something “good” to happen, or for someone to come along and take care of you and solve your problems, are real cop-outs, and selfish, because you shift your burden unto others who don’t want or deserve to be laden by your inconsideration and irresponsibility.
I see . . . your mother made you crazy, your father was an alcoholic, your brother a junkie, and your sister a hooker, so you can be a thief because you’re entitled to that since you’ve come from such a wretched background. But others who have grown up in worse circumstances and lived in even more dysfunctional families have managed to lift themselves up. They fought for what was just, acted with morals and values, and believed that they, themselves, could make a major change in their lives, and then did so. Again: Choice and self-empowerment. I, for one, am tired of picking up the slack left by people who have no sense of what accountability is or what is expected of a “good citizen.”
Here’s one: You’ve spent millions of dollars to build that massive mansion you’ve always wanted at the edge of the shore, in a flood zone, or in a landscape where forest fires are common and devastating, and then suddenly you lose your home and all your belongings to a fire or hurricane or monsoon, or flood, and now you want all Americans to help you financially by paying higher taxes to government emergency agencies. So why would you a build a home in those spots in the first place, and why would you rebuild there in the second place? Anyone in need of help in America is seldom turned away but your fellow countrymen do get tired of paying more and higher taxes and premiums for the selfish and self-indulgent decisions you make, particularly when you know ahead that your choice may result in disaster. Take responsibility!
And, let’s see, you have arteries that clog up like mudslides but you still want those fries, the burgers, the pizza—all of which will only worsen your condition; yet you feel that your illness should reap some pity and that you shouldn't be held accountable for any of it, right? After all, you can’t help it if you were born with lousy blood vessels. Well, guess what--it’s up to you to take care of your own problems. Having been sick myself, I know that of all the loads to haul, illness of any type has to be one of the heaviest, and one that often we have no control over. But our attitude is still in our sole possession. I’ve seen people dying with cancer who were less selfish, less self-indulgent, less self-pitying, less self-centered than those of us who have mere colds, even though we know we’ll be well again in either two weeks or fourteen days. If anyone has a right to whimper for their botched health care, or the surgical mistake performed on them, it is they who are ill, and yet, they’re likely the last to complain. Let’s have a reality check!
Doesn’t it make you want to punch the wall when you’re spending more money on your county’s educational system and the kids aren’t learning, and don’t care to? If anything, they’re more truant than ever, and they can’t do basic math, can’t speak properly, can’t write a correct sentence, don’t know how to present themselves in public, don’t show respect for adults, and find millions of excuses for why their circumstances are so defensible and justifiable? Woe is they. Don’t you want to kick their butts and yell, “Hey! Get off the sofa,” or “Stop hanging out with friends,” or “Do your homework”? It worries me that we are producing a generation of slothful, dumbed-down, irresponsible, unaccountable future leaders who have been raised with too much materialism and virtually no structure or limitations. And whose fault is that? Who should take the blame for them? The schools? The parents? The textbooks? The students themselves? So, what do we do? Maybe the answer lies in slapping our kids silly while praying that someone doesn’t report us for child abuse lest the all too intrusive government steps in and tells us how to raise our own flesh and blood.
I remember when growing up that my father thought nothing of giving me a slap across my shoulders when I mouthed off, tried to get away with a lie, or did something he said I shouldn’t have done. I recall equally well how my older brother would get a good swift kick in the rear for the same things, and for not taking care of his little sister. Neither of us would have ever considered yelling back at Dad, slamming doors in anger, or—heaven forbid!—report him for “child abuse.”
And I’ve made some big mistakes, too.
When in college, I chose to ride with a friend to a party. I knew I was getting drunk but I had thought he was just fine. But had I not been intoxicated, had I been more responsible, I never would have gotten into the car with him. Mea culpa, I did, and I have been paying for that wrong choice since that day, having had over 14 surgeries to my face, some loss of vision, visible and invisible scars, and periodic joint pain. It was his fault; he was the driver. Nope, the greater blames goes to me for making a decision that resulted in life-long problems. I could have not gotten into his car. If anything, I should have been sober enough to stop him from driving. I made the mistake, not the college authorities, not the bar, not my classmates, not the alcohol companies, not the car, not the auto manufacturer–-no, just plain ol’ me. It hurts owning up to that. But taking ownership of our behavior and our choices is part of what makes for a respectable and responsible adult. We all make mistakes, and when we do, we need to take possession of them and not scapegoat.
The Lord didn’t accept Eve’s scapegoating when she ate the apple and He was upset with her. “The devil made me do it,” could have been one of her defenses. But He had told her and Adam very clearly that if they violated His rule—“Do not eat the fruit”— He’d not let them forget it and punishment would be far-reaching. He gave them choices, free will: “If you don’t disobey me, you’ll be fine; if you do, you have to pay up.”
Can’t you just hear Adam passing blame on to Eve? “You always have to have the best, the most costly, and always what you’re not supposed to have. If you didn’t want that darn apple so badly, we’d still be romping in happyland. This is all your fault.”
And Eve faulting her husband: “Listen up, Adam! You didn’t help any by letting me go ahead and steal that apple when Father said not to. I thought He was kidding. You should have done something! And it wasn’t a great apple anyway; it had a worm in it”
“My fault? And why do you have this thing with reptiles! Now our actions will haunt every human after us.”
We mortals here on Earth have not started our lives with the care-free and magnificent surroundings Adam and Eve had; rather we have to thrash about all the harder to make the right decisions. Taking custody of our choices, our actions, our words, is the foreword to our Book of Life.
And like Eve and Adam, often our bad choices can never be undone, and, hence, the pain and agony are unbearable and prolonged. There are too many errors we make that we can’t fix, and yet they frequently affect everyone else, like a domino affect, so taking responsibility for ourselves is critical not only to ourselves but also to those who we love and who love us, those who look up to us, those who would follow in our footsteps, those we meet even if only for a brief second. Our decisions and scapegoating involve and shape others’ lives as well.
I doubt there are a lot of people on our planet who are perfectly happy and have everything they want. No, we have a blemished world with faulted individuals. We lost our glory in Original Sin, so to expect everything to be just exhilarating and to have an ideal life with everything we want, is both self-denial and selfish-–again, those “selfs.” Instead, our mission in life is to be productive and to do for others, and not wait for others to do for us.
All of our decisions and their consequences come down to the “selfs”: Self-accountability, self-responsibility, self-answerability, self-conscientiousness, self-dependability, self-blame, self-reliability, self-trustworthiness, self-liability, self-respect, self-love, and a host of other “selfs” that we need to affix in our state of mind instead of pointing fingers at others who have nothing to do with what decisions we make.
Good parents know and have always preached and modeled “accountability” and that for every choice we make in life, there is a counter-force-–sometimes good, sometimes bad. Sartre preached that whatever choices and decisions one makes, he or she is to be held responsible and accountable for them, and if consequences come with those choices, then the person must either accept and live with them or find ways to improve his or her decision-making process. In either case, what one chooses is the responsibility of that one person—not anyone else.
So how do we handle situations that we believe are “incurable” or unfixable, or hopeless, even when we want to take responsibility for our actions? Turn to God. Here’s an example: In an article by Mary Kaye Ritz (Gannett News Service, July 09.05, “Faith vs. Weight” Followers Say Faith in God Can Stem Food Abuse; THE DAILY TIMES, Salisbury, MD), the point is driven home that there is nothing the Lord can’t do Ritz states, “These days, more people are turning to higher powers when their will power isn’t cutting it. Jodi Hertz is one of those who tried to help herself while turning to the Lord when she weighed over 200 lbs; she lost 85 lbs and looks like an entirely different person.”
There is a difference between taking responsibility for what we do and say, and shouldering all the burden and heartache. The Lord wants us to do what we can, on our own, before we ask Him to step in and “just take care of it.” He’s always present for us, but as a parent, He understands that his children should try making good choices first, fixing their problems themselves, not blame others, and then, after having done that, we call on Him.
don’t forget all those “selfs.” Find the real one in you. And grow
Dr. Gianni DeVincent Hayes is an internationally recognized author of 14 royalty-published books and over100 articles and short stories in highly circulated and commercial newspapers and magazines, such as PARADE, US, PEOPLE, REDBOOK, WOMAN’S DAY, and many others. One of her novels,”22 Friar Street,” is under a movie option, and her novel on cloning, “Thy Brothers' Reaper,” also had been optioned by a movie company. Hayes has a doctorate in writing/comparative literature /humanities, with a concentration in eschatology (Bible prophecy and politics), and also has earned two masters in education and science. Her bachelor’s degree is in liberal arts, biology/chemistry; and certification has been achieved in writing at several universities. She speaks worldwide and has appeared on dozens of national radio and TV shows.
Currently she is completing a full-length book on “Globalism and the Loss of Sovereignty” in all aspects of our lives – from parenting and education to religion, economy and politics. See at www.thenazarzine.com which is now under construction, to learn about her religious/patriotic site. She is working on a third website on the art of writing. She has her own radio show, “New World Order Disorder,” on www.theamericanvoice.com, Wednesdays, 9:00pm, EST, and an additional show titled “End Times Apocalypse—ETA” on Monday nights, 7:00pm, EST at http: www.live365.com/stations/reaamericaod.
Book her for speaking engagements.
So how do we handle situations that we believe are “incurable” or unfixable, or hopeless, even when we want to take responsibility for our actions? Turn to God.