On Tuesday 12/02, my therapist asked for a thumbnail summary of my overall situation.
I know no way to account for this but the exact scenario I set forth in “Chaos overwhelms the poor:” I pay attention only to the concrete here-and-how, and to what I myself can do. (Related: Here – Now – Can.) From the farthest reach of my right fingertip to my right, to the farthest reach of my left fingertip to my left: within that range lies all my responsibility, everything that I can control. Here, the world appears orderly. Here, I can order and manage my affairs. Here I have power. I can act effectively. I can easily find hope.
A ton of hope.
I have heard that the achieving personality tends to attribute success or failure to one’s own activity, whereas the underachieving personality tends to attribute success or failure to factors outside one’s control. Dr. Phil says “attribution” refers to one’s sense of one’s ability to act effectively and overcome obstacles. Maybe it depends on what one’s focused on — whether one “keeps the focus on you” or instead on things over which one is powerless. Certainly this must play a role in why some poor folk overcome poverty and others do not. (Related: Race and upward mobility .)
See also remarks below about injustice.
I don’t know where hope comes from. Certainly circumstances can encourage hope, as when I’ve submitted applications to several attractive jobs or have an appointment for an interview. But it seems finally to be a choice; and I exhort people to choose hope even in the face of hopeless circumstances. And it seems finally to be a wholly arbitrary choice, albeit closely related to whether one seeks a world of bloodshed or of peace.
This selfie can’t be complete without mention of a completely changed approach to injustice that I recently adopted. My responses to recent injustices at McDonald’s and at the shelter illustrate it. I am determined now to accept injustice without becoming its victim; that is, without letting it so disable me that I fall down and don’t get up.
|Life in the outer darkness|
|Gloria Estefan, “Get on your feet”|
Righteousness and justice are closely related concepts. In Hebrew, the term tzedekah names either one. To be just is to be upright. I am powerless over injustice, but it may be that to get back up after one falls creates justice.
Originally posted 2014-12-20.