While I agree with the first statement, I feel the need to criticize the second because it shows evidence of the egocentric aspect in American culture that has become a powerful tool in keeping our oppressive economic and government system in place.
Lets breakdown the main term here which is self-respect. Respect as a verb means to admire something for its qualities/achievements. Therefore, self-respect would translate to admiring ones own qualities. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, to an extant. So how could making choices that make a person happy result in the admiration for oneself?
Americans are raised to believe that making mistakes is the worst possible thing they could do. They are not taught to learn from them, but rather to avoid them (“Get it right the first time!”). This kind of upbringing makes people associate mistakes with poor choices that lead to unhappiness, and it is a belief that is most certainly false. Sure, it is possible to make a mistake out of laziness, but if one were to reflect upon that, they could take the appropriate steps to change their behavior and avoid the laziness which led to the mistake in the first place.
To say self-respect means making only choices that make you happy, is to say that you need to please yourself in order to admire your best qualities. That doesn’t make sense to me. Buying a double shot Mocha from Starbucks makes me happy, but it wouldn’t be a choice that defines the respect for myself.
At the end of the day, having respect for yourself comes from the choices you make that benefit you and the people around you. Striving to become a better person through education and experience — through mistakes and making adjustments — means becoming a better contributing member of society. Why does a person need to do that? Because there are a lot of social, economic, and environmental problems that are all of our problems, and we must be willing to work together in the name of progress for our species.
This might not be well-put-together, but I am really tired of the egocentric language that Americans use. Me, Mine, My, Myself, and I are all personal pronouns used far too often. How about we start talking about us, instead?
Reblogged from openendedsky