Inherited Struggle

Here’s how it is:

Sometimes in life, bad things happen. Sometimes they’re our own fault, and sometimes a meteor hits your house, but in any case, we don’t like to accept it. So we blame others, or we get mad at “life being unfair,” etc. The best case scenario is we take responsibility and improve.

The worst case scenario is we become proud of the bad thing.

That’s the last line of psychological defense for people who can’t accept that sometimes we fail or sometimes bad things happen. We take struggles and pain and we say it was a good thing that it happened.

Looking for examples?

“I grew up poor and it made me strong, so parents shouldn’t try to provide for their kids.”

“I had to work my butt off to immigrate to this country, so I don’t want anyone else to be able to do it any easier.”

“My parents hit me and I turned out fine, so I don’t want to go soft on my kids.”

And so on.

In each case, the person suffered in some way, and now they want to inflict that suffering on a new generation of people – not because it would improve their own situation, but because it lets them pretend that what happened to them was fair and just in the first place. That suffering in that way was actually a good thing.

Do you want to live a noble life? Here is an easy way to focus your goal: find every instance you can of “cycles of struggle,” where the struggle of one person led to the struggle of the next, which led to the struggle of the next.

Break that cycle.

If you had the worst parents, be the best parent – and if you don’t want to be a parent, then be a mentor, a Big Brother/Sister, a youth leader, anything. If you grew up in poverty, then don’t try to be rich – try to make your kids rich. If you were the victim of violence, then become a force for peace, not vengeance. Help others do the same. If you meet an illiterate child with illiterate parents, teach the child to read.

Don’t be proud of cycles of struggle. Break them.

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