Judging Yourself Truthfully

Judging Yourself Truthfully October 15, 2011

One of the most important mental disciplines is to assess yourself honestly. We are so naturally susceptible to judging ourselves according to both the flattery of our admirers and of our own ego, on the one hand, and the disdain of our detractors and our own irrational fears, on the other. It takes a lot of work to look squarely at what we actually do and what it is actually worth. Our brains are structured in such a way that emotionally our fastest judgment is a simplistic positive or negative towards whatever we encounter, including ourselves. And because of this we can think only positively about ourselves one moment and only negatively the next.

So, I concentrate a lot on looking at myself as truthfully as I can manage and it is a daily uphill climb. And tuning out the misperceptions of others is a vital part of this process. I work very hard to not judge myself by widespread misconceptions of what value does or does not consist in.

And so I cannot express enough my agreement with, and admiration for, JT Eberhard’s frankness about his struggles with mental illness. He is able to insist on seeing the rational truth for what it is. It is not his fault that he has a sickness. It is not anything he should be ashamed of. And it is not anything he should hide from his enemies who would want to exploit it in order to undermine his credibility by trading on resilient myths about either the weakness or the culpability of the clinically depressed.

He will publish his experiences of temporarily losing his mind, even sometimes, intimately, right after they happened. He will publicly let others suffering like him know he is with them. He will model his successes in beating back the monsters and model resiliency after losses against them. He will vividly describe for the rest of us what it is like to live in a brain like his own. He will expose and articulately denounce the attempts to exploit his illness by religious people who misguidedly prey on those they perceive as vulnerable. He will refuse to confuse his sickness with weakness. He will actively counter such misconceptions step by step, putting himself and his own experience unashamedly on the line and daring those who want to assess him by false standards to expose their ignorance.

That is what living according to the truth is like and that is what fighting for the truth is like.

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