…Notice I didn’t say the one who “can’t” stand up.
I am a victim of circumstance. I can never do enough. I will never be enough. Maybe it’s easier just to go along. Ever think that?
But I can’t live with myself when I choose to go along just to get along. And after reading this in Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life” (thanks Reid!), I am even more convinced we can’t just go along to get along or feel sorry for ourselves because we are biologically limiting ourselves:
Standing up means voluntarily accepting the burden of Being. Your nervous system responds in an entirely different manner when you face the demands of life voluntarily. You respond to a challenge, instead of bracing for a catastrophe.
Standing up, resisting, and asking why are “taught out of us” in the constructs of societal hierarchy and our education system. But giving in and going along limits us from being our best selves, and it’s how corruption begins.
There have been times I needed to stand up to a person or idea, and even more times I needed to stand up to myself. To check my values and my why. To quiet the little voice inside that makes me scared, weak, and causes me to second guess things I should be doing because it will be hard. It’s exponentially harder for me to stand up when I’m in a bad spot in life. It’s easy to feel sorry and place blame.
In the lowest of our lows, we do have the power to pick ourselves up and stand up. It’s hard, but we do. Maybe we change our attitude and see things as a challenge instead of a catastrophe like JP says. Sometimes, maybe it’s easier to harness the anger, resentment, and rage inside to do it. And that’s OK. Whatever it takes to get back up.
At another point in the book, Peterson says one of the most difficult lessons in life is, “There is little difference between the capacity for mayhem and destruction, integrated, and strength of character.” He says there is evil in each of us, we need to own it and control it. Sometimes to use it. Find that energy and using it for good, to drive you forward. I know I have it, I feel it and work hard to control it. Sometimes my best days at the gym are the days I’m fixated on something that is bothering me and I quite literally “beat it out and sweat it out.”
Peterson makes the concept even more relatable in one of his podcasts by describing a situation where you find yourself in a dark alley with a violent predator. In that moment, you have to know you can kill that person. You have to know that to survive. That doesn’t make you a murderer or dangerous, and he isn’t encouraging each of us to be violent. Simply, when we recognize and harness that power inside of us we build self-respect and self-confidence. When the going gets tough, and we are at our lowest, we have the means to get up and fight back.
What if we all stood up a little more often, recognized and rooted the power and energy we have in positivity and good moral values? Just imagine the change we could bring. Stand up with respectful confidence, and be the change you want to see in yourself and in the world.