“America is the greatest country in the world.” -Muhammad Ali
During this trip to Australia, one of the main sets of emotional injuries I have which have been highlighted to me by Jesus and Mary have to do with country-based injuries from being born and raised in America.
Here are some bits of feedback and truth I have received from Jesus about my country-based injuries and attitudes, which also apply to many other Americans, or in some cases, all other Americans as well:
- A demand that other countries satisfy western countries’ demands.
- People of western countries tend to believe they are superior.
- Belief that America doesn’t have the problems that other countries have; we are less violent and more law-abiding (it actually only appears this way due to a collective facade).
- The USA is a bully as a country and has a bullying mentality stemming from a sense of superiority.
- This superiority is within every person in America.
- We have had a feeling that our country is the best country in the world (which is not actually true).
- We want our country to be responsible for our safety, security, welfare, food, clothing and more (we do not want to take personal responsibility for these things and most Americans believe they are far more personally responsible than they really are).
- An attitude of “I want what I want”… and when I don’t get what I want, I will get angry.
- On top of this, myself and many people in America have a problem with thinking we are in a better condition personally than we actually are, and an addiction to a facade that we don’t have lots of rage and expectation.
- Many Americans, including myself, learn to cover over our issues with a facade of niceness that covers over a very dark, evil direction emotionally.
- For many Americans, myself included, as soon as a bit of feedback is given, we pull back from the interaction to avoid any additional feedback which would challenge the facade and addictions.
- Many Americans, myself included, use manipulative ways to avoid feedback.
- The USA will not be a nice place to be should there be economic upheaval, earth change events or events regarding country-based revolution because everyone there has feelings they should always get their addictions met.
I decided to look around the magical, endless land of the interwebs as I was writing this. I came across an article which cites a poll of American citizens that concluded,
“A majority of the public (85%) says either that the United States ‘stands above all other countries in the world’ (29%) or that it is ‘one of the greatest countries, along with some others’ (56%).”
Before coming to Australia this time, I hadn’t spent much time outside America with the exception of a couple of weeks or months here and there to other first-world countries. I did spend a day in a poor part of Mexico when I was a teenager and looking back, my American snobbery and superiority was in full swing within my head: “They live in those kinds of houses?” “Doesn’t anyone follow traffic laws here?” “I’m so glad I don’t live in this country.” In America I’ve been surrounded by everyone who pretty much has the same attitudes as I do, and so this is in part why I didn’t see how I act these injuries out all the time. After all, if every person in the USA has them and we all agree with each other, who will pull us up on them? (Ideally, God, if we wanted to hear the truth about it, which I personally don’t).
I would like to write a series of blogs on the issue of American country-based injuries over time as I hopefully work through my own. For this first blog, I have been unsure about which country-based injuries to start with. You see, if I am to share from personal experience, I could share anything from what it’s like to grow up in a military family with many members who been sent on missions overseas, right through to what it’s like to grow up with attitudes that you shouldn’t have to stand very long in a line to buy something at a store.
And so I have debated: discuss issues such as my family and many Americans’ attitudes towards military conquest in other countries? Or discuss how I expected to get lots of gifts for Christmas every year? But then I realize: these things are not unrelated. It is not an either/or scenario. In fact, the demands for gifts at Christmas may be part of the reason why we use military conquest to dominate and take from other countries. Perhaps the impatience of having to stand in a line reflects the same attitudes that cause America to disregard the welfare of poorer countries.
I am going to navigate writing about these issues the best I can with where I am currently at. And where I am at is not far into dealing with these problems. I don’t see how I act them out all the time and am often “surprised” when I am told, but this is because I don’t want to notice. I want what I want, and if I see what I’m doing from God’s Perspective, then I may not get what I want. My attitude at the moment is, No thank you God, you can take your conscience mechanism back with you out the door, thank you very much, I don’t want to know what I’m doing is wrong!
I also don’t feel how sinful it is to justify and act in these emotions. If I did, I might want to change them. However, at the moment I don’t care that much how my demands damage others and myself and often doubt whether they really even do: that’s how strong the rage of my entitlement is to getting these addictions. When push comes to shove, and I might have to forego something I really want in order to be loving in a situation, in my current condition I will not choose the loving option. Rather I will push aside, step on and drain from whomever I need to in order to get it anyway. In fact, I actually find those whom, through their own injuries, will give me what I want, and then manipulate them to get what I want, thereby exploiting others’ weaknesses in order to fulfill my addictions. And on top of this, I have a well-developed facade to pretend I don’t have these kinds of motivations.
I am only a tiny way out of full-fledged denial. I am still in denial, maybe just a smidgen less than I was six months ago. But maybe at some point I will decide to sincerely work through these problems, in which case maybe some of the things I learn in that process could assist other Americans to do the same.
I thought to start, I’ll share a bit of background about my own life. If my understanding from Jesus is correct, it seems that the above bullet-pointed issues at the top of this blog are ones most or all Americans have to some extent. However, I want to be clear that my personal experience and resulting emotions are obviously not perfectly representative of all Americans. It is a diverse country with many residents who are significantly less “privileged” than I am, to use a common sociological term. After all, I am white, heterosexual, able-bodied, and grew up economically in the middle-class and within the most accepted religion in America. There are many Americans who have far less privilege than I do and their experiences growing up were far less privileged than mine were.
However, I also know that there are millions of people who did grow up very similar or somewhat similar to myself, where a similar set of attitudes was taught to them in childhood, and so my theory is that sharing truthfully about the emotions I am seeing in myself, and where they came from, may help others to examine their own as well.
I grew up in a quintessential, white Republican patriotic household: the kind which to those in other countries may sound straight out of an Hollywood movie, and yet is accurately representative of a very large percentage of families. My family was a military family who celebrated patriotic holidays–and all holidays for that matter–to their fullest commercial and festive capacity, drove a Jeep while listening to country music, my Dad owned a gun, we went to a tiny Methodist church every Sunday, and also regularly went to real church: watching American football on TV and the parties associated with it.
My dad was a fighter jet pilot in the Air Force military and retired only a few years ago as a colonel, a fairly high-ranking in the Air Force. My dad’s father before him was an engineer who worked for a company that developed military jets and otherwise contracted to engineer for the military. My dad’s family was Methodist Christian and devoutly religious. My mom came from a family who loved–nay, worshipped–the American military as well. Many of her family are in the military and she couldn’t have been prouder to be a military wife to my dad. She was also brought up very religious and extremely conservative.
Both my parents, in varying degrees and varying ways, were racist, homophobic, religiously discriminatory, and generally had superior attitudes. There is a lot I could talk about with regards to the attitudes they tried to teach me towards certain groups of people which included other Americans, but for this blog post, I’ll stick to the attitudes about America versus other countries.
My family would have readily admitted half the attitudes Jesus mentioned Americans feel in my bullet points above, and they’d have stated them proudly. We were the best country in the world. Everyone else wasn’t as good as us, that was just a fact. America did everything better. We have a better society, and pretty much, God just loves Americans more. I remember when I first realized that my family believed America won wars over other countries because God favored us to do so and was baffled at the logic. I didn’t get it. If God loved everyone like the reverend in our church said, why did he want some of us to kill others and certain ones to die and others to live? I used to lay awake at night as a kid feeling very upset after learning there was such a thing as war and that this was supposedly the normal way the world worked. We never really volunteered anywhere, were taught about charity of any kind or serving anyone in any way. It was all about us and what we could get from life.
Looking back, it is like I grew up thinking that the USA was the only country in the world, or certainly the only one that really mattered. I was never sat down by my parents and told about people who existed in other places in the world that lived differently to us. I only absorbed that there was a world outside America (and Europe, which my parents liked) through osmosis as a I got older. It was as if other people than white Americans and Europeans were as inconsequential to our lives as a random insect native to Connecticut that I’d never heard of.
Americans’ status in the world, and our lifestyle, was considered the norm. How we lived is how it should be, what we deserved and how God intended us to live. My family had the attitude that many “right-wing”/conservative Americans had: the other people in the world should just start working harder if they wanted a better life like we had. We pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, and so should they. It’s not our fault their lives suck; maybe they should work harder and be smarter and adopt some of our ways of life and systems which clearly work wonders. There was no regard whatsoever as to why other countries were in a terrible position or what America was doing to them. A word was never once spoken about this in my family.
As an American you may relate with some of my experience, or you might not. You might not have grown up as ignorant as I did or had parents who loved the military, guns and patriotism. But what if we take a microscope to our typical lives and look at the day-to-day choices which reflect the country-based injuries I bullet-pointed at the beginning of the blog? What can these attitudes look like even for those who didn’t grow up in the specific kind of American family that I did?
Well, let’s look at issues of demand related to getting what we want, when we want it, in our daily lives. I’ll use myself as an example.
When I was little, I got gifts every Christmas and every birthday. My parents had us make lists of what we wanted and I was irked if I didn’t get the ones I wanted most. My brothers and I expected them. We went trick-or-treating on Halloween as most Americans do, which is pretty much repeatedly showing up to strangers’ houses and knocking on their door and expecting them to give you candy. We even got some gifts on Easter and Valentine’s Day. In fact I feel my family is still upset at me that I have stopped engaging in the expected gift exchange during holidays.
My mom also did a lot of things for myself and my brothers. I didn’t have to do many chores except when my mom enforced outdoor manual work or cleaning as punishment on me. My brothers and I were not taught self-responsibility in a loving way. I feel my mom did most things for us because of a few key big injuries of her own, including one which created in my brothers and I huge expectations of others/life and a lack of responsibility: she endeavored to give us a far easier life than she had as a child living on a farm, as one of eight children, in a family far poorer than we were, and where she had to do a great deal more chores and duties than she ever asked us to do.
When I was little I observed demanding behavior in my parents: anger if they couldn’t buy what they wanted at a cheap price, frustration if the air-conditioning or heating in any situation wasn’t to their standard, upturned noses if a public bathroom wasn’t spotless, snide remarks under their breath as a waiter walked away if they took too long to bring the food out. At any suggestion we were privileged, my family defended: “Come on, we’re not rich! We have lived in homes with only one bathroom for the family of five! There are people with so much more than we have!” In fact, my parents have throughout their lives have carried a feeling that they’ve been hard done by and had resentment towards people with more assets and possessions than they have, or who they perceive have had it easier than they do, and this is also an attitude I have taken on.
When I first got feedback here in Australia about my American attitudes, I thought, hold on now! I have never had much money, I shop at thrift stores, I’ve owned one car in my life which I still have and it’s 20 years old and lots of its paint is peeled off. I’ve lived in tiny places and try to stretch out my haircuts as long as possible. And yet, I can see that my standards of what I should get, what is normal and reasonable to “need” from life, are extremely luxurious compared to what most people in the world have, though they are standards most Americans would also agree are reasonable as a baseline.
When I’ve noticed my American attitudes coming out, even here in Australia, I have nervously laughed to myself at certain times–or felt completely justified at other times. While Australia is still a first-world country, people are more self-sufficient and less addictions are met living in rural Australia. Some examples of my actual thoughts in certain situations:
As my friend Lena will tell you, when I went to the Australian grocery stores and they didn’t sell chipotle, I couldn’t believe it. In fact I can’t believe they don’t have 4 kinds of chipotle to choose from. I mean, who doesn’t stock chipotle? Isn’t that BASIC?
I order things online sometimes and I can’t believe there isn’t much free shipping. I mean, come on. Who pays for shipping anymore? Paying for shipping is so 1995.
Internet data is limited here. It had never occurred to me anyone in the world who had internet access (something I also consider a reasonable demand for anyone with a heartbeat) would ever have limits on the usage. You mean I can’t stream YouTube at 1080p while downloading a movie for later while video-Skyping my boyfriend? You mean unless I pay and arm and a leg, these things pretty much have to go out the window? How will I live? What is there to live for?
I’ve gotten somewhat used to using buckets and similar receptacles for human waste, my own and others, emptying them, burying the contents and cleaning the receptacles. If I had been told 5 years ago I’d have to do that, I’d have sooner sold my firstborn to the circus than consider such a lowly experience.
-Have no modern plumbing
-Have no home heating and cooling systems
-Have no access to any kind of internet nor roaming data access, nor television services
-Remove coffee & caffeine
I reckon at this point few of us would last very long without having some kind of emotional meltdown, much less adding to that situation work like cleaning homes, outdoor manual labor in the heat or cold and personal feedback to the mix.
I jest, because occasionally I find the issues a bit funny, but in all seriousness, these issues are widespread and our demands have far more implications globally that we imagine or than I personally yet understand. I am only slowly realizing the influence that the American demands for comfort, convenience, safety and security have on the rest of the world. While I grew up with an attitude that we were the best country, I never really realized how much many people in other countries aspire to be like us and to have the same addictions that we can readily fulfill. The sad thing is that many of these other countries, by aspiring to be like us, will actually be aspiring to darken their soul condition down to the collectively low soul condition of America.
When we justify and agree with each other in our demands and addictions, and then continue to act in them, we are assisting the rest of the world as well as ourselves to degrade in condition. America is the biggest bully of the world and at some point we are going to have to accept that and examine in what ways we each contribute to that. Many Americans, including myself, like to put all the blame on our politicians (particularly the other political party from whichever one we lean towards), religious leaders, or the super-rich of the country, but we need start looking at our own personal entitlement, greed and narcissism as individuals.
When you go to another place with less self-absorption and expectation, you find that these country-based injuries actually affect every day, practical interactions with others and decisions that need to be made. Country-based attitudes are not some nebulous, indeterminate set of injuries with unclear consequences and which we can easily dismiss. These emotions of demand, expectation and superiority play out daily and are actually some of the main issues degrading our individual and collective condition, and I’d guess in many cases even more than many other issues that as individuals we may want to think are our biggest issues personally.
I am pondering the idea that country-based injuries are childhood injuries and they have personal, deep pain associated with them; country-based injuries are not impersonal. They are not attitudes we can change just by watching documentaries about less privileged people in the world or buying fair-trade chocolate. My understanding is we will have to examine what emotions have been passed down to us from our parents, families, school teachers and others in our childhood and find the personal pain that must be associated with those emotional injuries, and go through an emotional process to shift things within ourselves.
Growing up, I saw some of the attitudes and emotions that my conservative, right-wing family had and I rebelled to some extent against them. As a teenager I got involved in human relations organizations dedicated to addressing discrimination and bias, in my adult life I’ve signed oodles of petitions against discrimination of many kinds, rejected organized religion, have gotten caught up in American politics and ended up adopting most of the polar-opposite political viewpoints of my family, and felt extremely triggered by political and religious figures in America that reminded me of my parents. I’ve wanted desperately to be nothing like my family and to reject the superiority, narcissism, and entitlement I saw in them.
And yet, I must come to terms with the fact that I still have a lot of these same issues myself. While I have rejected the extreme forms of superiority that my family justify proudly, I have to face that I am still left with many extreme addictions based on growing up in America. I feel entitled to things that I think I need but don’t actually need, I have a demand for others/the government/the world to make things easier and less scary for me, a lack of personal responsibility, a far bigger desire to take from the world than to give to it, a willingness to exploit others’ injuries to get what I want, and more. It is inevitable I will have these attitudes, and that I will in many ways be the same as my parents and the people in my childhood, because after all, they created my injuries.
I’ve also had a facade about being one of the “nice, reasonable Americans”. I like to tell myself I care about other countries and am informed about what’s happening in the world, and that I share nothing in common with what I consider the extremists in our country (who are a lot like my family). And yet, the idea that in actuality the soul condition of America is collectively quite dark, and that the collective evil in Americans is also within me at the moment, is something I don’t like to face. I find myself wanting to defend America and myself as being nicer than that, and yet continuing the way I am now will be the road into hell, even not withstanding any of my other unloving desires or poor attitudes that aren’t from country-based injuries.
Sometimes I still want to be in denial. “America can’t be that bad! It’s just our politicians and religious leaders that are the problem! It’s a great place, after all we’ve invented this thing, and we have that brilliant organization, and we do this good thing in the world! I love America! Don’t take my America away from me! We are very nice people who are responsible and well-rounded and law-abiding and just, well, great! And look at me, I’ve changed, I’m not like my family! I’m not superior and demanding!”
And I don’t know, maybe Americans do have some good qualities and attitudes and not all our achievements are off the backs of others; it’s a bit hard for me to tell right now where the line truly is in what we can really take credit for achieving through loving means.
But now in facing the idea of giving up my entitlement for everyday things to be easy and to revolve around what works for me, I often get really angry. “I shouldn’t have to change this! F*** anyone who tells me I should be happy to use a bucket for human waste, suggests I should learn to fix a car myself or thinks it’s reasonable to ask me to go through a summer over 100 F with no air conditioning! People should understand my plight! Woe is me! They should make it easier for me! WHY DOESN’T ANYONE LOVE ME IN THIS SITUATION?” I am literally like a spoiled 3-year old having a tantrum.
I also thought I was sick of America, particularly with the political drama of recent years. But if I’m honest, facing the idea that I will have to give up the demand for these everyday addictions in order to grow in love feels like a breakup. America feels like a person to me sometimes now, one I’ve been in a relationship with for 31 years and who I thought was really quite awesome. I thought we were close, I thought we were doing great things together in the world, I thought it was love and we’d reached the epitome of an awesome relationship that surely anyone would aspire to if their eyes and brain worked properly. And then someone comes along and tells me this relationship is actually a toxic one, and that we are destroying ourselves and others in the way we are living together.
It feels like a loss to consider giving these addictions up, like something precious, that I love, and that is vital for my happiness is being taken away from me. And I’m angry about it. I feel like I’m being jilted and love is being withdrawn (what I consider love to be). I know it may sound silly, but it’s how the idea makes me feel. I am told that when we give up addictions or come down from superiority, it can feel like a loss, even though God’s Truth is that we are not in actuality losing anything at all. I am told that in the end, giving up addictions always results in more happiness, and that retaining them creates more pain. God’s Perspective on these things, it seems, is extremely different from mine.
Sometimes I wonder, what if a lot of my pain is actually because of these issues? Maybe I have always felt lonely and isolated in part because I was taught addictions and worldviews that set me up for certain disconnection from my brothers and sisters in the world, and therefore, also from God. Maybe there is actually deep pain in feeling and acting entitled and there is suffering for me at the core of getting what I want, when I want it, how I want it.
I haven’t been to many places that aren’t first-world countries, but when I’ve seen photos or videos of those far less privileged than myself in the world, through my injured perspective I have wondered how in the world they could possibly be happy. I’ve seen photos of children with splitting shoes in front of shanty houses with a bigger grin on their faces than I have likely ever genuinely reflected in my life, or women cooking on dirt floors with their single pot and they seem more at peace than I’ve felt. I’ve thought, how could they be happy without all the comforts and things that I have? What are they excited about? It has utterly perplexed me; they have almost seemed like extraterrestrials to me. And yet, it makes me wonder how the soul actually works, and under what conditions feelings of joy, connection, and love are possible.
Though I’d heard Jesus discuss country-based attitudes and the emotions of those first-world countries, it never felt to me like whatever American attitudes I might have absorbed would hold nearly as much importance, or personal pain, as say, feelings I have as a result of having been hit by my dad in my childhood. And yet the more I ponder it, the more the former seems as potentially pain-inducing and soul-damaging as the latter. After all, how can we minimize the effects of parents brainwashing their children in a way that disconnect their hearts and souls from the Soul and Love of God and of other people in favor of addictions masquerading as love?
Jesus said to me recently that every person in the USA will have to go through the process of challenging the facade of niceness, but Jesus has yet to meet anyone from the USA who is sincerely going through the process of coming face-to-face with their facade and how it affects their lives, others and themselves.
I haven’t yet decided to be one of the Americans to start doing this. Right now I pretty much just want the addictions despite the cost to myself and others, and I am very angry. But it’s something I’m thinking about personally and these are issues that hundreds of millions of people in the USA have, and which I’ve gotten some very interesting truth about from Jesus and Mary, and so I thought I’d share some of the truths I’ve been gifted with you. If we can shift as Americans, maybe we can cease being the chief destroyer of the world and the people in it as we are now, and our change in attitude, behavior and our repentance could be beneficial for the world instead.
Here are some Divine Truth videos I recommend to look at these issues. I will come back and add to this list over time as I find snippets mentioning issues in America or first-world countries generally.
20161108-1350 Governance Principles: In this video the question is asked, “If Governance Principles ensure restriction of those in lower development, why do evil people seem to be in power on Earth?” and a discussion relevant to America ensues. I have embedded the link directly to this question.
20161122-1510 Responsibility Principles: In this video I ask Jesus, “Why do humans often give societal power and authority to people who are not self responsible or developed in love?” and a discussion relevant to America ensues. I have embedded the link directly to this question.
20150930-1400 Judgement Towards Others (Selina Mytting): This video contains relevant reflections for many in first-world countries.
All Forgiveness & Repentance videos, which highlight how not forgiving and repenting personally contributes to country-based, societal and global pain.
Till next time,
photo & gif credit to unsplash.com, pixabay.com & giphy.com