Bruce's Blog


7 Deadly Attitudes: Part 7

March 11th, 2013

No immunity from tough times

Even the invincible Superman had his allergy to kryptonite. Eating our planet alive is the attitude that "It can't happen to me." Part of the horror of 911 was the shocked realization in the United States that it can happen to us, that it did happen to us. We are not immune from life's downside.

How close are you to poverty?

At UCOM every few days we see people who used to give to us who now are benefiting from our services. When the mortgage and the tuition and the other payments stay the same, but both good jobs are gone and income is reduced significantly, those of us who may have felt invincible recognize our vulnerability. The truth is that most of us are only one or two paychecks away from poverty.

Encountering economic vulnerability

The invincible like to think of ourselves as being above it all. We will never really need help. The thinking quickly moves to judgment of those who do need assistance at this moment in their lives. Most of the people UCOM serves are not lazy, entitled or gaming the system. They have simply encountered their economic vulnerability.

Those of us who think it will never happen to us--whatever IT is for us--are usually wrong. Life and death happen to us all.

Two negative results of invincibility

Invincibility is one of our seven deadly attitudes (as described by Dr. Phil Johnson in his book Soulwise) because it betrays us and it grows resistance to others. This attitude causes us, like the head-hiding ostrich, to deny any signs that the thing that we fear is coming for us. Like the monster under the bed, many of the fearful things in life turn into dust bunnies when confronted in the daylight. Some monsters really do exist; those we need to face too. Ignored they do their worst. The bad effects are neutralized when we meet them head-on, not when we pretend they don't exist.

The second deadly effect of invincibility is that it builds a wall between us and others who are obviously having difficulties in life. Sometimes our thinking goes like this: This person has a need for assistance. This person is much like me in lots of ways. I may one day have a similar need. Since I cannot accept my vulnerability to the vicissitudes of life, I must find ways to differentiate myself from the other person so that I do not have to entertain the possibility of needing help. Therefore I project stereotypes that make that person less than I.

This rationalization of our invincibility sets  us apart from those whom we see as needy, and leads to a callousness that makes us less connected to the world around us.

Thanks to Dr. Johnson

I am indebted to Dr. Phil Johnson for the outline and title of this series of articles. The seven attitudes that threaten to destroy the planet are also the attitudes that prevent our cooperating with those around us, co-existing, learning from one another and following through with the best of our humanity. Every move away from these 7 deadly attitudes is a step toward a healthier, happier world.

What are some areas  in which you feel or have felt invincible?

How did you beat that feeling so that you can relate to people who are alternately successful and unsuccessful?

What are other attitudes that are destructive to our world?


#1 Denise Demak said:

Bruce well said. When I speak about poverty to others, I remind them of the phrase "There but for the grace of God, go I. I think we all feel some sense of invincibility when we are younger, but as we grow old it diminishes through life changing events. For some it helps them empathize more to others situations. I believe that attitudes of self righteousness and greediness seem to not serve our world well. Kindest Regards, Denise

#2 Bruce Roller said:

Thank you for the insight, Denise. That whole idea of the invincibility we feel lessen as we grow older is a good future blog idea. Want to expand on it?

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