Thursday, January 27, 2011

Your Problems Are Not Real

It is a common enough theme. Occasionally, I get messages from people who want to deny what I tell about myself in my blog. I have seen them do the same towards others. There are a few schizophrenics who wander aimlessly around downtown Nashville, and once in a while someone, often other homeless people, will say, "oh, they're faking it." I always like to ask these casual observers exactly what their back ground is in the study of psychology. Interestingly enough, not one of them has ever claimed even a B.S. in the field.

There is a natural competitive side to humans. And in the past couple hundred years that competitiveness has been pushed to unhealthy extremes by things like the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism. Now at every turn, people are expected to put on a good front, show themselves as strong, and to hide every weakness. We now even accept that people will lie about their strengths and abilities, and we encourage people to deny their weaknesses. For one example, look at how people write their job resume's. Not only do people routinely embellish the truth about themselves, everyone who reads a job resume' automatically assumes a large portion of it is fictional. And doing so is all considered normal and correct behavior.

Because of this, many, if not most, people have come to fear honest disclosures, especially honest disclosures about weaknesses. They fear that it may set a precedent whereby they too will have to divulge their own shortcomings. To them, that much honesty is threatening. They cringe at any expression of imperfection. Even seeing someone with an obvious handicap upsets them.

Some headway has been made against prejudices towards the physically handicapped, but not so much for the mentally or emotionally injured, as it is much easier to deny that condition in others.

It is no wonder, then, that this blog, which is for me an exercise in extreme honestly, confessing every weakness and imperfection about myself, has been met with a great deal of opposition. Not only do the things I say here come under attack, but much of the vitriol is pointed directly at me. And, I am not the only one who suffers this. Any homeless person who has come forward, especially on the internet, about their homelessness, discussing their problems and what led to their homelessness, has suffered the same.

From my standpoint, those people who can be honest about themselves and can openly confess their weaknesses and imperfections are actually stronger and more courageous than those who cannot.

The purpose of this blog is to educate people about the realities of homelessness, its causes and potential cures. The only way for me to do that is to be completely honest about myself, exposing everything, the good and the bad. Anything less than that would cause it to fall short of that goal. If this blog, and what I write here bothers you, don't blame me. Take a look at yourself.