Most Dangerous Word
Our-Universe is comprised of our “Self” and “others.” Theory of Self-Relativity describes others as “everything and everyone else” or “other-things and other-people.” We are one side of the equation and everything and everyone else is on the other side.
Since we are we, and everything and everyone else is not us; by nature, and as a way of life, we can only focus on one side of our “Self-Equation” Which is a concept developed by Theory of Self-Relativity.
Theory of Self-Relativity defines “self-equation” as “the dynamic balance of your Self, relative to your Self and to others.”
As discussed, Theory of Self-Relativity recognizes “Self” as the “most important word ever”; and as discussed below, Theory of Self-Relativity recognizes “others” as the “most dangerous word ever.” Theory of Self-Relativity defines “others” as everything and everyone that is separate from our Self hence references to others often collectively includes other-people and other-things.
Due to familial, cultural and societal influences, more and more people have been conditioned to place importance on others before their own Self. As a child, we get conditioned based on what we learn from our family and later on from our culture and society. Prioritizing others usually begins with our family structure as we are growing up. The family unit commonly teaches a child to respect and even obey parents and elderly members and this respect is usually not questioned. Respect is often comingled with obedience and control in order for the child to do what others, especially what parents want the child to do and how parents want the child to be. Since children do not have a developed sense of Self; the child takes the parents’, teachers’, priests’ and other members of society’s teachings as the way things ought to be. Hence, the child develops a sense of Self based on what the child learns from others or quite often the child develops a self-identity that is reliant externally onto others.
What parents and other members of society teach a child, which often shapes the child’s sense of Self; is not necessarily the truth or what is good for the child’s long-term independent development and self-identity. Parents and members of society often dictate the ways that a child should be based on their own perspectives on life and based on their own perceived and adopted traditional, cultural and even religious values of how a “good” child should be. It is noteworthy to consider that in many families and cultures “good” is often synonymized with “obedience” and with “validation of likability” by others. This obedience and external-validation are often intentionally or unintentionally instilled as respect and the child learns to adopt and adapt to such demands from parents, teachers and other members of the society in order to be validated and liked and to be considered as being good. Additionally, obedience and the need for external-validation disguised as respect allows those who consciously or unconsciously want to control a person to do so without the person’s awareness.
By teaching a person to focus on others, the person will not be able to focus on him/her Self. By focusing on others; self-awareness, self-worth and as a whole self-identity gets minimized and becomes reliant on others rather than being developed internally from within one’s Self. This is because at any given moment we can only focus on one side of the self-equation and the more conditioned we are or the more vested interest we have on a particular side of the self-equation, the more difficult it becomes for us to dynamically shift between the two sides. Additionally, the more a person focuses on one side, especially as a learned skill and habit starting from childhood, the more that focus becomes a dominant personality trait.
Respect and courtesy are important attributes for establishing and maintaining healthy relationships and interactions as interactions and relationships are discussed in detail in the book; however, when respect, courtesy and focus are dominantly directed externally and become reliant on others and at the expense of one’s own Self, respect and courtesy become disguised tools for selflessness as we live to focus onto others. The long-term implications of focusing on others creates dependency, validation and approval-seeking from others instead of us learning to develop and cultivate those characteristics from within our own Self. Focusing on others is the primary cause of neediness and codependency and people-pleasing characteristics as well as one of the main reasons for not being able to become independent and self-reliant.
According to Theory of Self-Relativity, it is not necessarily what others do to a person that makes others the most dangerous word ever; but it is how people prioritizes others over their own “Self” that shifts the focus over to others, at the expense of the “Self.”
Being loved and accepted is an important attribute for social and group-animals such as humans. Although humans are social animals, humans are also capable of being on their own. Despite the fact that people can be on their own, a healthy ability to interact with others is important for a balanced development and functioning. However, when the majority or all of a person’s attention is directed towards getting confirmation, validation, approval and even love from others; such interpersonal interactions become unhealthy for the individual. Such externally-focused way of life could even be more damaging than being alone because the individual’s self-identity and sense of Self is fully reliant externally and on others. Individuals who are focused on others, such as codependents and people-pleasers, learn from early in life that if they continuously focus onto others and do things for others; others will like them and will give them the love and sense of validation that they are continuously seeking. Unfortunately, when others realize that one does not value and respect one’s own Self and one is continuously seeking approval and value externally; such selfless people naturally become less important and less valuable to others. Consequently, others learn that externally-focused individuals are always willing, waiting and available to please them in order for them to give the people-pleaser attention, validation and praise.
When a person focuses on others, the balance of self-equation shifts unfavorably from the Self towards others. Focusing onto others takes the focus away from the Self and places the Self in a position of living from the outside-in, rather than from the inside-out. This diversion of focus away from the Self and onto others creates dependency, reliance and self-doubt because the individual becomes dependent on others, rather than relying on their own Self. By becoming reliant on others and by getting validation and sense of self-worth and even their self-identity externally, the person has no choice but to instinctively become a people-pleaser and a codependent. Although it is a good feeling to get other-people to compliment us, to like us and to even love us; it is more important that we value our own Self by learning to establish self-worth and a strong self-identity from within. This could only be done if we learn to like, love and value our own Self from within by living a centered-self life from the inside-out. Dependency and reliance are discussed in the book as one of Theory of Self-Relativity’s 10-enemies of self-improvement.
Approval from others and pleasing others are learned and adaptive-traits that are developed and carried over from early childhood. It becomes a learned characteristic when the child realizes in order to be liked and loved, and to be cared for and not criticized; the child must make mother, father and others happy. As is common with many people-pleasers, they generally experienced family structures and childhoods that required pleasing their parent(s). Similarly, the society places expectations on us for becoming a people-pleaser. In most cultures and societies, being a people-pleaser or sacrificing our priorities before others is guilt-riddenly categorized as being a “good” person.
Being self-focused is not selfish but being selfless and self-sacrificial is self-abuse.