Highlights & Annotations
All problems are interpersonal.
Nobody is an enemy. Everyone is a comrade.
Do not try to interfere with other people’s tasks, only offer encouragement.
Most people live as if relationships are vertical, where one person is above another.
Even offering praise is an indicator of a vertical relationship because it implies the passing of judgment by a person of ability on a person of no ability; passing from inferiority to superiority. It’s like a verbal pat on the head. Patronising. p181
“We determine our own lives according to the meaning we give to those past experiences. Your life is not something that someone gives to you, but something you choose yourself, and you are the one who decides how you live.” p.13-14
- A rejection of Freudian trauma causing adult behaviour → cause and effect.
- Etiology vs teleology
“The important thing is not what one is born with but what use one makes of that equipment.” p.27
- Reminded me of the Strengthsfinder test – working with your strengths and interests instead of what you ‘lack’ in
“He wants to live inside that realm of possibilities, where he can say that he could do it if only he had the time…” p37
- // how busy is not a matter of not having enough time, it’s a matter of priority - of choosing to allocate your energy towards one thing or another
“No matter what has occurred in your life up to this point, it should have no bearing at all on how you live from now on.” p39
“To get rid of one’s problems, all one can do is live in the universe all alone.” But one can’t do such thing. p51
- Follows up that loneliness isn’t being alone, but being surrounded by people and feeling excluded
- It is only in social contexts that someone can actually be an individual - because they are someone amongst other individuals?
“We cannot alter objective facts. But subjective interpretations can be altered as much as one likes. And we are inhabitants of a subjective world.” p58
- Pro of subjectivity → allows us to make our own choice; to frame a situation in our own way
Feelings of inferiority vs an inferiority complex → complexes = abnormal mental state
- Feeling inferior can be a trigger for striving and growth p63 → it turns into a complex when those feelings turn into an excuse → A is the situation, so B cannot be done.
“The one who boasts does so only out of a feeling of inferiority.” p68
“I withdrew from places that are preoccupied with winning and losing. When one is trying to be oneself, competition will inevitably get in the way.” p75
- “Forming good interpersonal relationships requires a certain degree of distance.
“The moment one is convinced that ‘I am right’ in an interpersonal relationship, one has already stepped into a power struggle.” p88
- Becomes a contest → thinking you have to win
- “If you think you are right, the matter should be closed then and there” → I don't totally agree, but I guess if both parties think they are right, there's no actual dialogue and just a power struggle cycle
Re: love relationships and separation -- “The person feels this way because at some stage she has resolved to herself, I want to end this relationship, and she has been looking around for the material with which to end it. The other person hasn’t changed at all. It is her own goal that has changed.” p101
- Hmm or maybe the other person has changed, but maybe that was in response to another interpersonal relationship, or something that their partner started doing → an ongoing feedback loop
“All you can do with regard to your own life is choose the best path that you believe in. On the other hand, what kind of judgment do other people pass on that choice? That is the tasks of other people, and is not a matter you can do anything about.” p130
Re: being disliked -- “What should one do not to be disliked by anyone?...It is to constantly gauge other people’s feelings while swearing loyalty to all of them.” p140
- Then this leads to making impossible promises - which will eventually come to light and living on others’ terms = more suffering
“...whether ot not so-and-so dislikes me is the other person’s task.” p 146
“...other people are not living to satisfy your expectations.” p 169
- When expectations are not satisfied = sadness and suffering → goes back to you as the ‘I’ - the center of the universe, ‘They disappointed me’
- Lower your expectations of people → you can’t control their actions
“It is only when a person is able to feel that he has worth that he can possess courage.” p188
Be grateful simply for people’s being p193
Radical accountability p.198
“..one simply has to focus on what one can change, rather than on what one cannot.” p211 // the Serenity Prayer
“You focus...on the pain from the wounds...But if you are afraid to have confidence in others, in the long run you will not be able to build deep relationships with anyone.” p217
“...happiness is the feeling of contribution.” p 234
- Of being of use to someone
- Of feeling like it’s okay to be here