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Societal Self-Compassion

I don't think we as people, or society as a whole can really move forward until we move away from control thinking.

Most of us were raised with punishment and reward. We were punished if we did something considered bad in our environment, and rewarded if we did something that our environment considered valuable.

I think this is deeply based in religion. The Christian belief that people are born bad is the culprit for this. Let me explain:

If we believe people are mostly bad we think that we need to somehow motivate them to be good. We think they need to be hearded/controlled.

Because we think we need to control all of these bad people, we use fear of punishment as the motivator.

This appears to work sometimes, to a certain extent. It also creates an incredible amount of shame and fails to address any real issues.

If on the other hand we believe people are mostly good, trying to do good things then we treat them differently. We believe that they can be taught new ways of handling things and when they are "acting out" we then ask ourselves "are their needs being met?" The answer is almost always no. We are survivors who almost entirely want the same thing: to live at peace with other people, and to have what we need.

If we approach problems with this perspective we treat people more humanely.

We give people the benefit of the doubt. We stop punishing people for being in pain. We start helping people get what they need so they can go peacefully on their way.

Controlling others is NOT the answer. It can't be if we hope to live peacefully with other humans. Control creates dysfunctional power dynamics and is the opposite of personal autonomy and respect.

If we want this for our world it has to start with us so lets make this more personal:

Are you using fear and punishment in your own life to motivate you?

What is a better way to motivate yourself?

If you believed yourself to be good at heart,

how would you respond when you make a mistake?

With love,


Life Coach

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