These are some of the questions that we hear at and some of the answers we give.
1. Why does a person become stubborn?
a) Because he has staked his self-worth on the outcome of the dispute, and
b) Because he is operating out of non-rational attitudes which he is not aware of and which he cannot change.
2. Why do some people become addicts while their siblings do not?
To relieve the pain of their self-contempt while their siblings had more self-respect.
3. Why do some conversations suddenly become arguments?
Because someone took a remark more personally than it needed to be taken. He or she didn’t know how else to take it.
4. If we don’t want to be disobedient, but we’re too old to be obedient, what should we be?
Independent on the basis of our self-respect.
5. What’s wrong with wanting to prevent bad things from happening to our loved ones?
We are not fortune tellers. We cannot prevent the future. This is a good intention. It is over-control. We don’t know what is going to happen and we cannot prevent it. This attitude teaches children to feel insecure and afraid of the future. It is better to prepare children to take life as it comes and do the best they can with it.
6. What’s wrong with wanting to please people?
We do not know how they want to be pleased. We only think we know. We are not mind readers. We are using these people to validate our self-worth. It doesn’t work. Very often, our good intention to please them is counter-productive. They are not pleased at all. We can’t understand why.
7. If we shouldn’t be pleasers, should we be displeasers?
No. We can choose to live in between these extremes and do what pleases us on a mature, appropriate basis. When we choose to do what reality requires us to do, we will be more pleasing than we ever were in the old days.
8. What’s wrong with wanting people to like you?
It is a set up for endless dependency on others for our worth as a person. Self-respecting people like themselves on an appropriate basis. Their self-respect makes them more likeable to others than all the self-serving pleasingness in the world.
9. What’s wrong with being angry at wrongness?
Life is full of wrongness. We’d be angry all the time. We are not morally superior to the wrongdoer. We are imperfect human beings, too. We are standing in moral judgment, which we have no competence to do. This is how we over-compensate for our own self-doubts. Self-respecting people choose to live in the middle ground between the extremes of rightness and wrongness.
10. When is anger justified?
Valid anger doesn’t need to be justified. Invalid, inappropriate anger cannot be justified. The issue is not justification. Anger is a legitimate human emotion. It is a response to a grievance. Invalid anger arises out of mindless, mistaken roles and attitudes cannot be justified. Such attitudes have nothing to do with the requirements of the reality situation. The antidote would be to replace inappropriate anger attitudes with appropriate ones so legitimate anger can be expressed in constructive ways.