I recently read someone making the point that when we are lacking in self-respect, we will find ourselves agreeing to things we know are not good for us. This lines up well with a Lakota teaching about the evil spirit Iktomi whose nefarious power is to not only get you to believe the wrong thing, but to act on it.

Seems this human frailty to be led astray has been around for a very long time. A long history, if you will, of  the ways in which we can be duped, taken advantage of, lied to even, and how we will take up that intentional obfuscation of reality as a basis for how we choose to act in the world. Even when we know it is neither true nor good for us.

From what I can see, it seems this predicament has never been more prevalent. More ubiquitous. More threatening to our very existence when it comes to who we take ourselves to be, and how it is best to be using our limited time here.

I am, of course talking directly, but not exclusively, about the screen technologies and all of its offshoots. Given that we have not been able to wisely and humanely integrate the current technologies into our lives, truly making our life here better, how do we imagine we will be able to handle the likes of 5G and AI?

If you doubt the negative impact, or believe this is just how it is now, you need look no further than the skyrocketing rates of loneliness, depression, anxiety, obesity, increased societal drop-out levels amongst our young and wide spread polarization to see but a fraction of the harmful effects that have been caused through how we use the current technological iterations.

Given how we struggle with what we have now, just what do we imagine we will do when all the lines between virtual and actual reality have been totally blurred? How will we make our way when every minute of every day we are being convinced to engage in activities that somewhere deep in our human hearts, minds and bodies we know is not good for us, but feel compelled to do anyway?

We focus on developing greater self-respect as the very bedrock of our existence.

To respect one’s self is to value one’s life. No. Matter. What. If this makes sense that this quality can serve as an antidote to what we are facing, believing and doing, it becomes necessary to ask yourself a few questions. What does self-respect even mean to me? Have you ever thought about it? Do you know when you are choosing to violate it?

To live grounded in self-respect is to refuse to believe in or participate with anything that devalues you. Anything that dings the preciousness of your own life. And you cannot look outside of you as a reference point. While this has always been so, it has never been more so because the culture at large has fallen under the spell of Iktomi. Fallen into believing the wrong things about what it means to be alive. Fallen into a very abnormal abyss when it comes to what we accept as just the way it is now.

This is a solo mission. An inside job where we begin to walk back the “little” daily choices we make that undermines our value. Maybe it’s the endless scrolling and envy you feel while on social media. Maybe it’s gossiping or thinking mean things about yourself. Maybe it’s ingesting substances or over scheduling yourself in ways that dull your life force.

Whatever it is, you will know it by its telltale sign: Self-Destruction. A kind of slow drip killing off of your very magnificence. Of your life-giving capacity to act on your best behalf. So when you find yourself engaged in that telltale sign of believing the wrong thing and acting on it, get out of it as quickly as you can.