While continuing my discard trip through ages of hoarding the written word, I’m about to discard the following, but cheating and saving it here:
The majority of people are born with one head, two arms and two legs. They have two eyes, two ears, one nose and mouth. But there across-the-board similarities appear to stop. (Of course they stopped with the first sentence in some who have had to struggle from birth with physical differences).
Inside, however, great differences can and do exist. Our nighttime dreams are unique to us, as are our combination of innate temperaments, our perceptions, intellectual potential, educational and family environments, and our genes. (Scientists have even identified a gene for “happiness.”)
It is natural to assume that most of us are as alike inside as outside. We begin to feel different soon after exposure to other children, however. Temperamental differences are one example. With age, some children learn to hide their unique differences; differences which appear unique to themselves; differences which are viewed negatively by others.
Become aware of your feelings as you read the following: cross-eyed, epileptic, club-footed, hare-lipped, retarded, crippled, senile, pock-marked, abused, victim, bow-legged, leper, old nag, brain-damaged, psychotic, neurotic… I wonder if the feelings differ if you’re inside one of these categories or outside. Probably not, because we soak up society’s perception of us. You think, therefore I am.
Eric Berne developed the concept of life scripting, in which people assume the scripts and characteristics that others expect from them, early in life. Some people start out physically and mentally healthy, but along the way are shamed into dis-ease.*
When we feel diminished, we are diminished. When we feel shame, we are shamed. The carpet of our life rolls out until the ragged end unless we can somehow intercept its path.
*Of course, our parents play a big role in this