I think as witness kids we were taught so much
and so often that we should focus our attention
outward and on other people that we never were
taught much about introspection.
It is through serious and meditative introspection
that we learn what it takes in life to satisfy us.
Us, that is, each individual, because we each have
a different satisfaction set.
Of course on a Venn diagram many of our satisfaction
sets would intersect as some points. We all have
basic needs to survive. On top of that we have a
set of needs to make us comfortable. This second
set has substantially more variability in it than
the first set. Third, we have a set of needs to
make us content. This set varies wildly between
individuals and we get little help from the outside
world in identifying this third set. Sure, we get
lots of information pushed at us as to other people's
ideas as to what will make us content, but they are
I have found that my needs for contentment are much
more simple than I have thought at other times in my
life. I am continuing to try and discover and accept
these things about myself. The next step will be
setting goals to obtain this contentment set.
As witnesses I think we do this later in life than
others for several reasons.
1. We are taught that we are not a priority.
2. We are taught that we are not going to live long
in a system where contentment must be sought out.
3. We are taught that the contentment of the "whole"
is more important than the contentment of the "one".
In our case, the "whole" is a combination of the
society and the congregation.
understanding and accepting yourself
I think as witness kids we were taught so much
Very interesting post joelbear .
I was so wrapped up in thinking about others that I never really knew what "I " wanted out of life . Coming to Know myself has been confusing and a realization found much later in life than most people I think .
I related to this post due what I have experienced this past year, I came to a similiar realization, and some how that gets me through. I am 34 years old knowing that I will always be learning, growing, gaining strength from hardships, and in the end I will be rewarded some how whether its to me or someone in my family, for the stand tall approach on life.
We have got to stand tall. I slowly but surely have come to grips with myself, I do not want to 2nd guess myself anymore (borg thinking, because I tried to be so perfect). I do not care if I have been screwed me over (so to speak, of course I care, but thats OK with me), I refuse to be bitter.
There are a bunch of in betweens above, sometimes its good to summarize?
The witlesses are actually programmed to keep self out of sight (that is in fact a lyric of a Kingdumb malady). They are told not to think more of self than is absolutely necessary. Instead, they think of the Filthful and Disgraceful Slavebugger and the organization they set up.
This brought back to mind a experience I had when I was in my twenties or thirties .
I was seeing a doctor for depression and during the interview he asked me what hopes and dreams I had when I was in High School . I didn't allow myself to have dreams because the end was coming . Of course I couldn't tell him that so I told him the only thing I ever wanted was to be married and have children .(which was true ) . He concluded that my lack of hopes for the future indicated a long history of depression and even manic depression . He prescribed Lithium . I just knew this wasn't right and I never did take the meds. I then saw another doctor and therapist and got treatment that helped . Most of my mental health issues stemmed from the repressed nature of being raised a witness in a divided household .
It took me along time to realize I wasn't a bad person . I was a normal person lead to believe I was expected to somehow be perfect in thought and deed .
i had hopes and dreams in high school because by then I had come
to the conclusion that Watchtower teachings were a bunch of hooey.
But I reattached myself to them out of fear of being alone and
abandoned by my friends and family, which eventually happened anyway
when I left the witnesses.
my life has been a journey of trying to get back on track. i compare
it to having taken the wrong path through the woods and now having
to backtrack and cut through some bushes to get back on the track
where my life should have been going in the first place.
when i sit quietly looking at my flowers or lay in my hammock and
quietly listen to the wind rustle the leaves in the trees i can picture
the path. i'm getting there. and as i reflect back i have come
to understand that all those years of struggle were actually very
rewarding and at many points in the past I have really been on my
path without knowing it. things that i know were on my path include:
coming out of the closet
seeing the landscapes of america through travellling
seeing the cities, the art museums, the architecture, all things that i love
finding a soul mate. yes, our souls are mated. its quite extraordinary.
removing people from my life that produced nothing of value for me
putting people in my life whose paths merge with mine
constantly seeking new experiences that i know or at least think are probably on my path.
(ie. board games, pottery, gardening, sexual and platonic bonding, photography, travelling
As one raised a JW, I can completely relate to what you are saying. The WTS takes away your personality and makes you subservient to "the greater good". The only time individuality is rewarded is if it somehow promotes the interests of the organization.
It took a long time after my JW experience to learn to accept myself and to feel comfortable going after MY goals, rather than putting those out of the picture and trying to serve everyone else. At times I still feel like I have to give myself permission to enjoy life. It's not something that seemed acceptable as a younger JW, because enjoyment was supposed to wait for "the new system", which you could only obtain through a lot of hard work on behalf of the organization.
I'm on a journey that parallels yours, finding myself and choosing to be with people who are supportive. I've had enough criticism and humiliation to last more than a lifetime, thanks in large measure to my growing up JW.