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Saturday, December 27, 2014

The blogger returns: are 15 damaging myths really myths?

Has it really been six months since I made my last blog entry?  Apparently yes.  I've been busy. Too busy.  This was easy to get out of the habit of writing, particularly since the extra stuff that made me so busy wasn't stuff I was able to write about.

But back to the show. Let's once again look at web advice and see if we agree with it.  This one is from the Hufffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elyse-gorman/15-damaging-myths-about-l_b_6324636.html , titled 15 Damaging Myths About Life We Should All Stop Believing, by Elyse Gorman.  And who is Miss Gorman? "Writer and founder of NotesOnBliss.com, your guidebook to happiness and creating a beautiful life."

So, let's see how many of these 15 we agree with.


1. There is a single definition of success.

Yes, that's a myth. There are lots of ways to succeed.  But Gorman undercuts her own argument by ending with "Live, work, date, play, create, travel, eat, drink, move, laugh and sing in ways that feel right with your soul. That is true success."  No, Elyse, you were right the first time.

2. Life is meant to be hard work.

Not a myth.  Actually, I don't claim to know the meaning of life, so I can't say what life is meant to be.  But I do know that there's a lot of hard work involved.

3. Life happens to us.

Partly a myth.  Lots of things we can control. Lots of things we can't.  Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer sums it up well:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

4. There is such a thing as normal, and we should measure ourselves against it.


A myth.  There are lots of normals, just as there are lots of definitions of success.  We should measure ourselves against our standards.  Am I being a good enough parent? How could I improve as a spouse?

5. There is an "us" and a "them."

A myth. There are just varying degrees of "us".

6. We have to compete for limited resources.

Gorman writes, "Life is meant to be abundant and limitless. We create scarcity by believing in it".  No. It's an economic world.

7. Happiness comes from external things.


A myth if you are middle income or better, but not in general.  Studies show that up to a point, money does buy happiness -- principally because it can buy food and shelter.  But fairly rapidly the connection between income/wealth and happiness becomes unimportant.  But there are a lot of people at the low end of the income/wealth scale, and they would be happier if they were more secure.

8. Holding grudges is a natural part of life.

I agree with Gorman here, who writes:
The Buddha once said, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."
Make forgiveness your new motto and see how much freer and lighter your soul feels.

9. There is something wrong with us.


Not a myth. Of course there's something wrong with each of us.  But let's not forget that there is also the spark of the divine in us, and each of us has worth.

10. It matters what other people think of us.


Not a myth. We shouldn't obsess about it, but it does matter to us.

11. We see things how they really are.


A myth.  As Paul notes: "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known." (1 Cor 13:12)

12. Meditation is something people do on a cushion at sunrise.

Yes, a myth. But Gorman says it's a myth because you can meditate anywhere, anytime.  I think it's a myth because most people don't meditate at all.
.
13. When we give something, we lose something.


A myth. Most of the time we gain.

14. We have to logically figure everything out.


Not a myth.  We can't logically figure everything out, because we don't have the information, we don't have the time and we're not that logical.  Still, we might as well try to do the best we can.

15. We need to be more realistic.


Not a myth. Illusion is the enemy of self-knowledge.

Scoreof Gorman's 15 myths, I agree that 7 are myths.  I disagree that 8 are myths.  So we're about halfway in agreement.