Self-loathing is so easy. Everyone has setbacks or makes mistakes, and many go through a period of being very hard on themselves afterward. After a mistake, you may be focused on the consequences or the sequence of events that led up to the mistake, but many people make beating themselves up a higher priority. Of all the options that you might consider after a mistake, beating yourself up is the least helpful. It’s important to be aware of when you’re doing this and replace it with other reactions. The first among these must be learning from the mistake, with forgiving yourself a close second. If you’re able to incorporate these reactions to mistakes into your life, there will be no room for self-loathing.
Social media is bad for society.
Oh, sure, it has resulted in some good outcomes. Families are able to keep in touch more easily and share pictures of their latest adventures. Old friends can reconnect and have a sort of correspondence, when otherwise they might not have. People are able to be creative and share their creations with the world. But people can also group into like-minded factions, feed on each other’s fears and paranoia, and only acknowledge the information that supports their own perspectives. Social media has supported and sustained the divisions that exist in our society. It has so much potential for good, but social media is like any other tool—it’s only as good as the people whose hands wield it.
Some people are larger than life. They seem to loom large over every interaction we have with them, not because they try to be dominating or because they are necessarily smarter or more talented than anyone else, but because they have a special presence. What is it about these people that makes them so special? They may have attractive attributes, such as intelligence or empathy, but (in my experience) they also may not. They may be successful in life, but they also may be living an “average” life—one that is not particularly accomplished or high profile. I call these people “large-souled,” meaning they have a significant presence in the universe. We may identify different people as being in this category depending on the way we interact with people. Maybe some people don’t recognize this category of people at all or mistake good looks, success, wealth, or charisma for a large soul. I’ve always felt drawn to the large-souled and have aspired to be one myself. Because the qualities of these people aren’t effable, this can be difficult.
Think back on those magical times in your life—when you were just oozing with joy and excitement. What was it about those moments that made everything feel magical? It seems sometimes that we live our lives for those moments, and, having experienced them, the rest of our lives seems very ordinary by comparison. We may try to recreate those times, but we’ll find that what we create is not the same because a lot of what made them special was who we were at the time. Does this mean that, as we move through our lives, there will be less and less magic? The answer is no, but we have to be more intentional about finding and seeing it. When we’re younger, many of our experiences are new, and we’re engaging in things for the first time, so our magical moments happen naturally. With each experience we have, the likelihood of new experiences goes down, but the good news is that it only goes down by a very small amount, as long as we continue to pursue and are open to the magic that is happening all the time.
Is there really evil in the world?
I have given a lot of thought to the concept of evil over the years. A big part of me points to the overwhelming evidence of actions and events that could not be called anything else. But my rational side makes the argument that there is a cause for any action, even the most horrific ones. There are certainly evil actions with appalling consequences, but do they come from a place of evil itself, or is there always an explanation (e.g., mental illness)? In the realm of knowing right from wrong and choosing wrong, there are huge swaths of gray, and most people engage in some forms of antisocial behavior, however minor and insignificant—any time spent on highways will prove that point. But what about behavior more significant in terms of its severity and consequences? Why does that happen, and where does it come from?