What could a person possibly gain from insecurity? What could be the reward of feeling undeserving? Why would we harbor low self-esteem? Why do we think against ourselves? These states are not natural to our essence or inner being, so why… where did the urge to give away our power come from?
I grew up in the American Midwest, in a place where people worked very hard for not a lot of reward. And yet, I can’t remember a single instance of a farmer saying ‘I deserve’ a better life. Everyone I knew behaved as if self-denial was humble and spiritual and a sign of goodness, and ‘I deserve’ was presumptuous and greedy.
It’s the ego that makes these comparisons. Ego identity comes with the situation we’re born into, formed by interacting with who and what is in our world, and by what works for us as we go out into our world. It’s the character we think we are, the separate I and me, as we deal with others.
This is just a guess, but I’m thinking the inferior ego of my early upbringing could be a very old pattern, related to the class system. These farming families are descendants of European immigrants, pioneers to the Midwest. They brought their cultures, Christian religion and languages with them, as well as their ideas about who they are, collectively.
Their story: “We are from peasants and fishermen. We believe that it is virtuous to ask for nothing, and that nothing is deserved. Everything must be earned by dedicated hard work, belief in God, cooperation with authority, and acceptance of the hard realities of life. If we live right, the reward will come, if not here, then after death.”
This is definitely a ‘system approved’ mindset, and it even sounds kind of high-minded, doesn’t it?
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