Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible for helping.
Boy, do I wish someone had told me this years and years ago. If your pet, friends or even a family member needs help, you drop everything, right? You want to make sure they’re taken care of because they mean a lot to you.
Would you do that for yourself? Because there was a time where I absolutely would not.
Just as recently as this new year, I wasn’t taking my medication for depression. I just…stopped caring. About myself and where my life was going. I was waiting. For what? For whom? I still have no idea.
Before the modern human was able to speak, the world was a different place. Reality was severely different. Words didn’t hurt, because they couldn’t. Instead, beings were driven by actions. Hunter-gatherers would do exactly that. The females would watch the nest and protect the children. These actions, which Peterson describes as “drama,” became the stories we painted on rocks and told around campfires. Why, then, are we still portraying the world and reality as drama-driven?
Subjective experience (lived experienced) is no better than a simple drama to anyone who hasn’t lived it. Your drama means nothing to anyone who hasn’t been in your shoes. They won’t understand, nor can you make them. Take this as an opportunity to learn about others instead of jumping straight to denying their opinions.
This is where I’d like everyone to observe in case you weren’t before. This is where we delve into why radical feminists hate Peterson.
Order and Chaos
Peterson explains that the world is inherently run by order and chaos. Order is a positive word, chaos being a negative. He also equates the terms with masculine and feminine personification. Order being masculine – as men are more likely to create lists and organize their things. Chaos being feminine – as women are emotionally-driven.
That sounds a little sexist, doesn’t it?
Well, hold on a second. Because later in the chapter, Peterson describes how both order and chaos can become destructive if used too often or too much. Too much order causes tyranny. Hitler. Stalin. Mao. It is the balance of order and chaos, the working together of women and men, that make the world a far better and less stressful place.
I’ll stop here to highlight a passage that gave me a huge amount of perspective. When chaos strikes, it’s not what fell down that matters – it’s what’s still standing. Cultivate and rebuild what’s still standing in your mind, in your life, in your relationships. Chaos doesn’t mean the end, it means a chance to make something stronger.
When chaos rears its head, we panic (at the disco), right? It’s the human condition. Our ancestors had heightened sensibilities to detect chaos and danger. You could even consider this an order of the brain. Even today, psychiatrists are treating more and more cases of anxiety. And anxiety is simply a misfire of the fight or flight response in your brain.
Why would we still have such a response when we live in a reality where we are the top of the food chain?
Because we’re still evolving. We’re not done growing as a species and mother nature is trying to weed out all the old habits.
Unfortunately, many people have grown to decide how something’s going to affect them before they even know what they’re looking at. We’re trained to see something in the road and avoid hitting it with our car before even knowing what it is. This could be a good practice for other things in your life, but approach it in moderation. Don’t assume someone’s motivation before you even know what that motivation is.
Take order and chaos, male and female, one step farther. One more level down the rabbit hole. Every brain is separated into two sections. Left brain and right brain. The left brain being more emotionally-driven and creative. Chaotic. The right brain is far more analytical. Ordered. You can now see how neither of these things are inherently negative. And if you get them working together, for each other, you’re happy, right?
“How could the nature of man ever reach its full potential without challenge and danger?(p. 47)
How indeed. Without order and chaos, we can’t function. Too much order, and we’re Nazis. Too much chaos, and we’re nothing but quivering piles of mush. In the Garden of Eden, the snake gave Eve the apple, promising her the vision of God. But all it gives her is the ability to feel shame and self-consciousness. She then takes the apple directly to Adam. He’s her spouse, of course she wants to share!
But when Adam and Eve are caught, Adam immediately blames Eve for his shortcomings and feelings of inadequacy. Not much has changed, has it?
But take a different approach to this. What if God had coddled Adam and Eve so they never realized their true potentials? By giving them everything they need without the proper balance of decision, God is taking away his own vision of what life could be.
Equate the above with that thing all humans do – compare themselves to others. There’s always going to be someone more successful than you. We all want what we can’t have. And God is a formidable father-figure. How could we possibly measure up?
We don’t have to.
Whatever problems you have internally, the next person has something equally bothersome happening in their mind. We can’t possibly equate the two because they are completely different. Only you know the depth of your inequalities. No one else does. They can’t see them unless you flaunt them. So whatever bad things you know about yourself, others have absolutely no damn clue. So act like it. Quit being the victim of your own internal bullying.
Treat yourself as though you are a person in need of help; worthy of this help. Be your own positive feedback loop.
Stay tuned, ‘cause I’m gonna go through all these chapters, yo.
Peterson, J.B.. (2018). 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos. Canada: Penguin Random House.