Nine Things Men Gain by Promoting the Equality of Women

This is side one of my pamphlet on the equality of women and men.

From one man to another… Nine Things Men Gain by Promoting the Equality of Women

A New Kind of Power
In the past, power has usually been seen as power over someone else. But this kind of power requires that a great deal of energy be used to push backwards against someone behind or below. There is a very different kind of power that is more efficient, more effective, and much more pleasant to exercise – this is the power of cooperation. This power uses energy to pull upwards, and the more people there are who join in the effort, the higher everyone progresses. Many women are very good with this kind of power, and they make great teammates. The more equal and the more empowered your teammate, the more empowered you become yourself. So it is in your best interest to both invite women onto your team and give them every opportunity to exercise their power alongside you.

A New View of Your Soul
The soul is a reflection of the attributes (or virtues) of God. If you have always thought of yourself as a male soul in a male body, then you may have felt that you should only reflect “masculine” virtues like courage, strength and perseverance. But God is neither male nor female. There is no battle going on between god and goddess, because God is far beyond the limitations of gender. If we are to achieve our full spiritual potential, we must learn to see ourselves and others as souls first, bodies second, and genders a distant third.

New Relationships with Women
Contrary to popular opinion (and the movie When Harry Met Sally), women and men can have friendships that don’t involve sex. But to do so, we have to see each other as souls. As bodies, we relate to women as mothers, lovers, wives, sisters or daughters. These are material definitions that help us feel separate from and often superior to the women in our lives. But soul-to-soul, we become partners, teachers, helpers and friends. While a body can be judged as strong or frail, young or old, beautiful or ugly at just a glance, a soul must be experienced through a relationship in order to be appreciated. When we accept the principle of equality, we are forced to look beyond obvious physical inequalities, and look for spiritual strengths that unite us.

New Relationships with Men
Women tend to experience relationships differently than men. Differently. Not better or worse, just differently. As we learn to relate to women as equals, as friends and as souls, then we will increase our capacity to reflect a fuller range of relationship styles. We can then use these different styles if and when they seem appropriate in our interactions with other men. We may discover that seeing our fathers, brothers, bosses and sons as souls increases our desire for friendships, while having a wider range of relationship styles gives us the skills we need to maintain them.

New Emotional Flexibility
When we begin to see ourselves as souls, and look beyond the socially defined roles of our gender, then we become free to have and express emotions that were previously considered “inappropriate.” We do not give up our strength and courage; we gain sensitivity and compassion.

Reduced Stress
Trying to maintain feelings of superiority and clinging to control are both very stressful. Being the boss; being the protector; being the king of the household; being the one who is supposed to always know best; these are all roles that men are forced to play, and they can give us ulcers. Life is infinitely easier when decisions, responsibility and control are shared with strong, supportive and equal partners. This is true whether you are “in control” of a household or a corporation.

Greater Wealth
Many people imagine that wealth is something that one gathers – and then they struggle to grab their share. In reality, wealth is something we create through intelligence, creativity and effort. If half of the world’s population is discouraged from using their talents and capacities, then the wealth of the world as a whole is diminished significantly. Until recently, almost half of all art and music, half of all scientific discoveries and half of all social progress was lost or delayed because the genius that might have brought them to light resided within a female body. What would your life be like right now if the world were twice as advanced as it is? Can any of us really afford to delay equality?

A Less Violent World
As guys, we know that a verbal insult can often lead to violence. If a man is called a “stupid idiot” in public, there is a good chance that some form of revenge will be forthcoming. What we may not realize is that the non-verbal insult of treating women like stupid idiots creates an undercurrent of anger and resentment that fosters nonphysical forms of violence like emotional blackmail and sabotage. At the same time, feelings of superiority allow some men to feel that they have a right to take what they want from women, even if it requires coercion, manipulation or physical violence.

Increased Self Esteem
Oddly enough, minimizing women does not actually help men feel better about themselves. The simple reason is that, from a spiritual perspective, women and men are both reflections of the same Creator. We are made in the same image. We can’t look in a mirror and say “you’re so weak and worthless,” without feeling a little weaker and less valuable ourselves. The more good we find in women, the more qualities we will find acceptable in our own characters.

Nine Ways Men Can Work for the Equality of Women

Side Two of my pamphlet on equality of women and men.

From One Man to Another – Nine Ways Men Can Work for the Equality of Women

Listen
When we listen to women — without trying to control, seduce or patronize them — we discover that they have much to teach us. We can learn, not just from their words, but from the way they talk to us and to each other, the subjects they find interesting, and the feelings they express. Unless we listen, we may never understand why they care about the things they do, and we may miss out on some of the important things in life. Understanding what women value is a key step in learning to value women themselves.

Invite Women to Join Your Team
You are already good at what you are good at. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have teammates that are good at other things? Different perspectives and different experiences help build different skills. Women often have the skills your project needs in order to succeed. In return, you can provide the opportunity for women to develop the new skills they need — and that your project can teach them.

Study the Art of Consultation
Consultation is a decision-making process in which personalities and private agendas are set aside and everyone in a group is encouraged to offer input concerning a common goal. Letting go of ownership of an idea, and wholehearted support of the group’s decision are two key elements of the process. Women’s voices are more likely to be heard, and their ideas appreciated in this kind of setting.

Rethink Your View of Motherhood
Being a mother is not what women do when they have rich husbands or can’t find a better job. Nor is it the sappy idealized image on a Mother’s Day card. Just as the womb provides the physical nutrients needed for healthy development, a mother provides the physical, emotional and spiritual “food” for an awakening young soul. If the mother lacks food, education, serenity, self esteem or love of God, then how can these essential needs be passed down to her child?

Value Children
We will never value mothers until we value children and understand the critical importance of the first few years of our lives. For centuries we have pretended that children were “resilient” and would “get over” whatever pain, suffering and humiliation they might experience. Now we are discovering that what we have forgotten from our childhood may have a stronger influence on our habits and fears than those things we remember. The importance of healthy, happy, and empowered mothers is clear. Our future depends on them.

Be a Good Father
Support your daughter’s dreams. Make sure she receives the education and inspiration she needs to be a loving parent and a contributing member of society. In doing this, you will also be setting a good example for your sons, who need to see your respect for women demonstrated in action.

Be a Supportive Husband
Give your wife time for prayer, meditation and rejuvenation. This is a polite way of saying do your share of housework. Whether your wife works outside of the home or rears children, these are both full-time activities that are just as demanding as what you do. So set aside some time to cook, clean, do laundry, and grocery shop so that your wife will be able to recharge her batteries and be a fully empowered partner.

Stand Up for Women
This may be the most difficult act of all, because it forces us to step outside of our comfortable circle of friends, risk our own position of status, and support someone else. The process is even more challenging when we realize that we must do it with love. We are not taking sides in the battle of the sexes. We are trying to bring the sides together in greater understanding and cooperation. This is best accomplished when we focus on how much we have to gain rather than what we are giving up; how much we love unity rather than how disgusted we are by sexism.

Listen Some More
Not only to women, but also to comments by other men, advertisements, jokes, media portrayals, and (most importantly) your own soul. Become sensitive to the subtle ways in which both men and women are limited by habit, tradition, expectations and prejudice. Then practice thinking, acting and feeling differently than you have in the past.

Now, find a safe place to practice.
The Bahá’í Community is a safe place to practice developing new attitudes towards women. In it you will find men and women of all educational, racial and social backgrounds working together to understand each other better without using blame, anger or guilt as tools of manipulation. You will see women in positions of power, and find men who welcome and learn from them. It is not a utopia, but it is a safe place to start.

The Bahá’í Community is an international group of people united by their common faith in the unity of the human family. We believe that there is only one loving Creator, Whose Spirit is reflected in the hearts of both men and women of every race and nation on earth. We look at the world’s great religions—Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith—as progressive chapters in the unfolding book of God’s love and guidance. If that makes sense to you, then give us a call or visit our web site to find out more.

Nine Reasons to Work for Race Unity

This is the other half of a pamphlet I wrote 18 years ago. It still applies today.

1) Because racism hurts everyone. It is not just the occasional race riot or hate crime that hurts us. Rather, it is the daily dose of tension, suspicion and distrust that crosses racial lines in both directions and eats away at human potential from every side.

2) Because these tensions raise the over-all level of violence and aggression in our country, which, in turn, increase stress, depression, domestic violence, drug abuse, and a host of other social and spiritual ills.

3) Because our children deserve the chance to live in a world free of prejudice.

4) Because, “All humanity are the children of God; they belong to the same family, to the same original race.”

5) Because the belief that some people are better or more valuable than others is a spiritual cancer that can consume our souls and destroy our relationships.

6) Because love between black and white Americans will set such a powerful example that it will encourage peace and cooperation around the world.

7) Because treating everyone with dignity and respect is the spiritual essence of the Golden Rule.

8) Because making friends and feeling comfortable with people from diverse backgrounds is so much fun and feels so good.

9) Because it is God’s Will – and it is always smarter to be with God than against Him.

Nine Ways to Work for Race Unity

This is one half of a pamphlet I wrote 18 years ago.
1) Promote education – both your own and other’s, because ignorance and blind imitation are the root causes of prejudice.
2) Recognize the essential nobility of the Human Soul – Many of the symptoms of racism are the result of either projecting or internalizing feelings of unworthiness. When we like ourselves, we feel less need to hate or fear others
3) Practice the qualities of “genuine love, extreme patience, true humility, consummate tact, sound initiative, mature wisdom, and deliberate, persistent and prayerful effort.”
4) Become sensitive to forms of prejudice and oppression that you might experience from a different perspective, (like sexism or ageism) and apply what you learn to your own racial attitudes.
5) Develop a personal awareness of the Oneness of Humanity as a spiritual and scientific reality.
6) Read the Holy Writings of the world’s religions – including the Bible, Koran and the Bahá’í Writings – and pray for guidance every day.
7) Contemplate the mortality of your body and the immortality of your soul.
8) Develop a thirst for justice because “The best beloved of all things in My sight is justice….” and “The purpose of justice is the appearance of unity amongst men.”
9) Make lots and lots of diverse friends so that you have many opportunities to study unity and practice virtues.
“We work and pray for the unity of mankind, that all the races of the earth may become one race, all the countries one country, and that all hearts may beat as one heart, working together for perfect unity and brotherhood.
“Only have faith, patience and courage – this is but the beginning, but surely you will succeed, for God is with you!”

It is the 35th Anniversary of the Creation of Special Ideas

Thirty-five years ago this month, I returned from my first Pilgrimage to the Baha’i Holy Land with an idea for a new company – a company that would not only create unique materials for teaching the Baha’i Faith, but would explain how to use them, when, where and with whom. Here’s the story of how it all began:
How I Created Special Ideas 35 Years Ago

I became a Bahá’í forty-two years ago, on June 27th, in the summer between high school and college. From the moment I signed my card, my heart was devoted to serving the Cause and teaching the Faith. In college, I majored in art, and spent most of my creative energy designing posters and fliers for the many Bahá’í Club meetings we held every week. I also created portable fair booths out of fabric, and travel-taught every summer, giving musical slide shows and talking about love, unity, and the non-existence of evil.

It was at one of those firesides that I heard about a job opening at the Bahá’í Publishing Trust. It was a dream come true to be offered a job there just a few months after I graduated. I was “Assistant Production Coordinator for Special Materials.” As exciting as that may sound, I discovered that they weren’t really interested in having me help develop any special materials. My job was to make whatever the people in charge wanted made. They were wonderful, dedicated people, but they simply weren’t as interested in teaching as I was. In the year I was there, we made greeting cards, records and jewelry, but not a single teaching card, radio spot or button. Our catalog included only one pamphlet, and no T-shirts. Needless to say, I was frustrated.

My heart wanted to teach, but working in Wilmette, I was surrounded by Bahá’ís, not seekers.  I was not helping anyone else teach either. I decided to quit and spend my meager savings travel-teaching again while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.

This is where it gets interesting.

I had no intention of starting a company, but I did have one good design that everyone told me I should do something with. Maybe you remember it. It was the “United Doves” logo, with a white dove and a black dove coming together to form a heart. Well, I had offered the design to the Publishing Trust, the Race Unity Committee, the Teaching Committee and the Office of Public Affairs. None of them liked it. So I decided I would print up a few posters to sell to fund my travel-teaching. I had a printer make film and plates to print up some posters.

That is when it got REALLY interesting.

One week before my last day at the Trust, I got a call from the Pilgrimage Office. Did I have a passport? They wanted to know. It turned out that someone had cancelled at the last minute and there was an opening for pilgrimage three weeks later, the second week of June. I jumped at the chance to go, but… I would have to spend the money I had saved to pay for my travel-teaching AND for the printing of the posters.

I went on Pilgrimage to the Baha’i Holy Land in Haifa Israel – a wonderful experience – and spent much of the time praying for guidance. What should I do now?

The answer, given to me while my forehead was on the Sacred Threshold, was that I should use the posters I was printing as the seed of a new business producing the Bahá’í teaching materials that I loved.

On my way home from Haifa, I had arranged to spend two weeks travel-teaching in Norway. I was in Kristiansand, at the home of the secretary of the Norwegian National Teaching Committee for my 7th Bahá’í birthday, dreaming dreams and making plans.  By the time I got home, I had the name of my new company and a dozen product ideas. Keep in mind that I was an art major and had no idea of how to run a business (and I had no money). But I was passionate about teaching. My secret marketing scheme was that I would not just tell people what I was selling, but I would give them detailed explanations as to how to use them so their teaching work would be more effective. I would teach people how to teach – and in so doing, I would help create my next customers! I would also have enough faith in the Community to risk printing things in huge quantities so that I could sell them really cheaply.

Which brings us back to those posters. If I printed 100, they would cost $5 each, but if I printed 20,000 I could sell them for 19¢ each. The problem was that I didn’t have the money to pay for any of them, but the plates were already made. So I talked the printer into giving me 90 days to pay. I then gathered the names of all the people I had met while travel teaching, and sent samples out to them. People bought them by the hundreds, then by the thousand, with one community giving out 1,500 at an Educator’s Conference a few years later. The posters got paid for, and the rest is history… sort of.

The first 15 years were a bit rough. Everyone thought I was crazy. First of all, most people didn’t think independent Bahá’í companies were allowed. Second, if they WERE allowed, they certainly couldn’t make any money. Third, if they were going to make money, it would not be by selling teaching materials! Fourth, you know, you really need to know something about business… Plus, I think I moved the company 15 times in 15 years. I’m amazed anyone could find me, but you did – and I thank you. Friends and strangers would buy more than they really needed just to help keep Special Ideas afloat. I bless you all. Then I met Karen and things fell into place. She was the stable ground that my creativity needed in order to flourish.

It has now been 35 years since I returned from Pilgrimage. I recently browsed through the fifty or more catalogs I’ve mailed out in that time. They contain literally thousands of different products – most of which we published ourselves – that represent millions of individual teaching items, from pamphlets to billboards, stickers, posters and prayer books. We have distributed over a quarter of a million copies of The Hidden Words and close to half a million prayer books. Several million assorted stickers have been given away. Countless pamphlets have been read. The name “Bahá’í” has been placed on the walls of thousands of homes and classrooms because of our posters. Who can tell how many conversations have been started because of a T-shirt, window decal, button, or piece of Bahá’í jewelry? Through all of these millions of items – each of which were sold for only pennies in profit – we have managed to fulfill our mission and our passion, while eking out enough income to keep our small family alive. It is a blessing for which I thank God every day.

Teaching is still the central mission of Special Ideas, but we’ve also expanded our vision to include interfaith fellowship, teaching virtues and emotional healing. I hope you’ve enjoyed following our evolution. Some of you, I know, were on my very first mailing list, while many others have been faithful customers for decades. I know your names. I recognize many of your voices. Sometimes I even know your parent’s names. It’s been that long.

I’ve loved serving the Bahá’í Community all these years, and I will continue to serve you as long as you let me – and as long as you all continue to need materials that make the world a better place.

Justice Saint Rain

How to Rescue the Publishing Industry

My Current Thoughts:
In the digital age, a book is no longer a “thing.” Reading is a “process.” Our current system for both books and music is still tied up with the idea of objects rather than a time-based process.
As technology improves, I believe that instead of tracking purchases of books and music (that we might never actually process) our gadgets will track the time we spend listening to each track of music and the number of words we read in a book, then charge a unified account accordingly (think nickels, not dollars), with royalties being disbursed to the appropriate artists or writers.
Amazon is experimenting with something along these lines with their loaning library system in which readers “join” in order to “borrow” Kindle books, and the authors are only paid if the reader reads more than 10% of the book. But you pay to join, and you may never get your money’s worth out of it. (And authors are encouraged to write really short books.)
I suspect that there will soon be competition in which you don’t join, but are charged by the item, and by the percentage of the item you “process.” I, for one, would rather pay 10-cents every time I hear a song I like than pay $15 for a CD or even $1 for a song on my ipod. I would rather pay 10-cents for every 5,000 words I read of a book, than risk $1 on a self-published e-book that I might stop reading after two pages. This would be especially true if I knew that the author or artist was actually receiving the bulk of the fee.
Right now, with Amazon controlling so much of the market, they can take a hefty portion of everyone’s royalties (though not as big as traditional publishers). They are trying to consolidate their lead by forcing authors to choose Kindle-only services or get left behind. That can’t last long. There are too many pre-Amazon books out there, and they can’t control the technological advances on their way.

The ABCs of Virtues

If we want people to understand the relationship between virtues and emotions, we will probably need to start young.  Toward that aim, I’m working on a new project – a Virtues Alphabet Refrigerator Magnet set.  I’ve decided that along with the 60 magnets – each of which contains a letter and a virtue that starts with that letter – I should offer my own parent-friendly definition of each virtue.  I welcome your comments.  (Since comments are moderated, they will not appear immediately, but I’ll post them as fast as I can.)
You already know what these virtues mean, but here are some helpful hints as to how to apply them to your children:

Call them active when they initiate activities other than watching TV or playing video games.

Call them adorable when they do something that melts your heart.

Call them attentive when they listen to what you are saying, even if there are lots of distractions.

Call them brave when they try something new or challenging.

Call them beautiful when they are a pleasure to be with.

Call them creative when they put things or ideas together in a new way.

Call them courteous when they say please and thank-you, or are polite in social situations.

Call them dependable when they do what they say they will.

Call them delightful when they make you smile.

Call them eager when they are excited about doing something.

Call them eloquent when they use words well for their age.

Call them energetic when their youthful energy is being channeled wisely.

Call them excellent when they achieve something at the top edge of their ability.

Call them forgiving when they let go of anger or disappointment with a friend.

Call them friendly when they make an effort to get along with their peers.

Call them generous when they share something of theirs with a friend or family member

Call them gentle when they handle small animals, babies or delicate items with care.

Call them helpful whenever they help you do something – even if you have to make up an artificial need so that they can practice this important virtue.

Call them happy when they are enjoying the many virtues that surround them.

Call them independent when they try something new on their own.

Call them intuitive when they express a thought or feeling about their environment that might not be obvious at first glance, or that they figured out through an emotional insight rather than through their rational understanding.

Call them idealistic when they express hopes and dreams for a better world.

Call them just when they choose to be fair, whether it is in a game, or when dividing treats.

Call them joyful when they take pleasure in their own growth.

Call them kind when they show concern for other people and animals.

Call them knowing or knowledgeable when they share with you something new they have learned.

Call them loving when they perform acts of kindness or service for those they love.

Call them loyal when they show support or say positive things about one friend or family member to another.

Call them mature when they behave in a way that is advanced for their age, or do NOT behave in a way that might be considered typical for their age.

Call them modest when they 1) dress and behave appropriately for their age and gender or 2) avoid bragging or boasting about their accomplishments.

Call them noble when they strive to be their very best.

Call them nurturing when they care for those weaker than themselves.

Call them observant when they notice something interesting and point it out to you.

Call them optimistic when they show a positive outlook towards some future endeavor.

Call them organized when they clean their room, compete a puzzle or successfully take on a task with multiple parts.

Call them patient when they wait for you.

Call them playful when they are having fun being silly.

Call them questioning when they want to know more.

Call them quiet when they are willing to moderate their noise level to match the situation.

Call them radiant when they are so full of life and love and enthusiasm that you can hardly stand it.

Call them respectful when they control their impulses in respect for the rights and feelings other people, or when they do thing that show that they value people and things other than themselves.

Call them strong when they put forth extraordinary effort, either physically or emotionally.

Call them sincere when they express how they really feel.

Call them truthful when they tell the truth – even if it is difficult.

Call them thankful when they express gratitude.

Call them unique when they do something that demonstrates their unique personality or way of thinking.

Call them unselfish when they give up something they want for someone else.

Call them unified when they successfully negotiate with other children or family members to do things together.

Call them vibrant when they approach a task full of energy and enthusiasm.

Call them virtuous when they demonstrate a combination of any of these virtues, but especially the kind, loving, selfless and generous ones.

Call them wise when they recognize the difference between what their impulses demand and what their virtues require.

Call them wonderful when you are amazed at how well they are practicing these virtues.

Call them expressive when they use words, gestures and emotions to communicate their experience.

Call them exuberant when their enthusiasm is so contagious that you catch it yourself.

Say “you are being yourself” when they express a personal opinion or do something that makes you want to smile because it is just so “them.”

Say they are yearning when they want something good for them or the world with all of their heart.

Say they have zeal when they express commitment and enthusiasm for achieving a goal.

Call them zestful when their natural joy of life bubbles over.

 

Labor Day Weekend Workshop

I’m very pleased to announce that I will be giving an adult workshop at the Thunder Eagle Ridge youth retreat center in Missouri over the Labor Day Weekend on the subject of my book The Secret of Emotions.   It will be an intimate and powerful weekend.  The cost is low, the setting is beautiful, and the people are wonderful.  I would love to see you all there.

Second Book Give-Away at GoodReads.com

In my last book give-away over 600 people entered to win one of 200 copies of The Secret of Emotions.  Now I am giving away 19 print copies of 4 Tools of Emotional Healing.  Click here to go to Good Reads and enter.  You will need to join Good Reads, but it is free.  While there, don’t forget to rate and/or write a review of any of my other books you’ve read.

Thanks,

Justice

 

Faith, Addiction, and the Marshmallow Test Revisited

Adapted from 4 Tools of Emotional Healing.

How can faith help you control your impulses, delay gratification and make healthier decisions?  Let me describe some recent research that sheds some interesting light on the connection.

Researchers have known for decades that people who have trouble with controlling their impulses, or delaying gratification have a much harder time succeeding in life. They are more likely to do drugs, drop out of school, experience an unintended pregnancy, etc. Researchers know this because of a long-term follow-up study of children who participated in what is known as “The Marshmallow Test” at Stanford University in the 1960’s. In it, researchers leave a 4-year-old alone in a room with a single marshmallow or other treat and tell them that if they can wait until the researcher comes back in ten minutes to eat it, they can have TWO treats instead of one. Children who were good at this—who waited the longest without eating the treat—were found to be more successful in many areas of their life as they grew into adulthood.

The fact that this one test correlated with a long-term pattern of behavior seemed to indicate that it was exposing an innate character quality in these children. A child was either good at delaying gratification or he wasn’t, and if he wasn’t when the test was given, he probably wouldn’t ever be. This consistency suggested that an ability to wait for a greater good was somehow written into a child’s DNA.

The fact that poor kids tended to do less well on this test was explained, not by their poverty, but by an inherited predisposition for irresponsible behavior and short-term thinking.

So where does faith come in? Well, about 50 years later, as it turns out.

In a 2012 study of 56 three-to-five-year-olds, researchers at University of Rochester found that children who experienced reliable interactions with a researcher immediately before the marshmallow experiment waited on average four times longer to eat the marshmallow than children who had an unreliable interaction.

For this new version of the study, children were given two activities. In the first activity, they were promised a reward if they did an art project as requested. After doing the project, half of the children were given the promised reward, and half were not. Later, this same researcher told them that if they waited to eat their marshmallow, they would get a second one.

The children who had faith that the researcher would do as he promised waited a mean time of twelve minutes, while those who expected the researcher to let them down waited a mean time of three minutes—only one quarter as long.

The ones waiting three minutes were not poorer, less bright, or less able to control their impulses. They had less faith that waiting would gain them any advantage.

They had learned from experience that promises are broken, people are unreliable, and pleasure should be grabbed while it is sitting in front of you. As one of the researchers said, “If you are used to getting things taken away from you, not waiting is the rational choice.”

This new study provides strong evidence that the kids who lacked self-control in the ‘60s were probably living in unstable households before they even walked through the door to take the test. Is it any wonder, then, that the follow-up studies found them to be less successful?

Many of us also grew up in unstable homes. Even if we had religious faith, we did not necessarily have faith that God and the universe were looking out for our best interests. The idea that there was plenty to go around never occurred to us. We expected to run out; we expected to be disappointed; we expected to be lied to; we sometimes even expected to be hurt and abused. These expectations were developed as a result of our interaction with those whom we should have been able to trust. As a corollary to these expectations, we also expected to fail, to have the rug pulled out from under us, and to be caught in an endless Catch 22 of bureaucratic gotcha’s.

The expectation that life will kick you when you are down creates a self-sabotaging attitude. Why study if you will never graduate? Why wait to have sex if you will never have a career? Why not take drugs, if they make you feel good now?

When we combine this expectation of failure with feelings of guilt and shame, it is not surprising that many of us go through our days subconsciously looking for proof that the world is out to get us. When that is what we expect to see, that is exactly what we find.