Wednesday, 17 August 2016

A Lightbulb Moment

I woke up this morning with this blinding realisation.  Well, it was obvious really, I don't know why I didn't think of it before.

During my career as a Counsellor and Psychotherapist I have found that all of my clients, without exception (as far as I can remember), have been suffering from low self-esteem, surviving abuse of various kinds, being treated as a doormat, putting everyone else before themselves, giving of themselves too much - to their own detriment.

Psycotherapists and counsellors have been criticised for encouraging people to put themselves first, leading to a "me first" culture. We have been accused of fostering a culture of individuality, rather than working for the good of the family or community.

Putting oneself first seems to go against the teaching of most religions, which preach humility, turning the other cheek, giving away one's possessions, caring for others...

And then, this morning, I realised that all (well, most) religions consist of men preaching to men. Of course! For thousands of years men have been favoured by parents and communities, encouraged to achieve, fight, make money, make war. They have been brought up like little princes, catered to by their womenfolk who adored them, nurtured them, fed them, comforted them and anticipated their needs from cradle to grave. As a result men have tended to be arrogant, pompous, selfish and blind to the needs of others. That is why they need to be preached at by their priests and prophets to think of others.

There needs to be a balance. Women, especially, suffer from the belief that they should put themselves last. Women, also, suffer from violence, neglect and abuse in greater numbers than men. However, I do not deny that men who have been abused also suffer in the same way.

Maybe now is the time for a new religion. One that preaches equality for all and one that fosters individual development and achievement for everybody, as well as consideration for others. After all, the two aims are not mutually exclusive.

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