Negative reinforcement


It’s taken me this long after coming back from Nowhere that I realize an important lesson that it taught me: I am not a useless handyman. Okay, I’m neither skilled nor experienced, but all those boring lessons that my dad gave me stuck and more than most people, I know approximately what to do.

I don’t know how it really happened and I admit that it was my own inexperience and insecurity that probably started it all. In any case, I’ve internalized my own incompetence. I’m not incompetent. I’ve just laid laminate in two rooms! A couple of minor mistakes that no-one has yet noticed, but otherwise, it looks great!

It lead me to think about Nowhere and in fact, I was one of the more competent participants in the camp there! I am far better than the average guy at this stuff… something completely different from what I’ve been repeatedly told before – that every guy knows how to renovate a house, repair a car, etc.

I never understood before how someone telling you something about yourself could really change how you perceived yourself deep down. Now I understand all too well. It’s not the comment or the disapproval that does it. It’s the constant disapproval or comments that does it.
I’ve lived for a mere two years together with someone and it’s been enough to trash my sense of self-worth about so many things. I’ve already realized some of it, but this newest revelation has lead me to self-analyze many more aspects about myself – and realize just how internalized many criticisms of me have become.
One piece of advice that I can offer now is to get the people out of your life that are poisoning your own self-worth. They are not worthy of the title “friend” if they do that kind of insidious harm to you.

Knowledge though, is power. Now that I know what is happening and how it is working, I can consciously work against it. I can see the patterns self-replicating from one person to the next. These memes that take hold, spread and become pervasive… The default world. Mainstream society.
But I’m not going to rant about it. That’s pointless. We have to generate our own meme and spread it. One of unconditional acceptance, of love and of radical freedom of expression. It is up to us, the members of society to build it for ourselves and not merely follow in the footsteps of our forefathers. It is time to bring the ten principles of burning man to the default world so that each of our lives no longer has a split personality of who we really are and who we present ourselves to be.

We can start here: 5 ways to make your life more like burning man

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