Monthly Archives: January 2017

Self-Doubt: The 8th Deadly Sin

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Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride are referred to in Christian teachings as the “seven deadly sins.” These, to the Roman Catholics, are the cardinal sins. If a person commits any of the said sins, he is believed to be cut off from God’s grace.1

Actually, the Bible does not specifically mention the concept “seven deadly sins.” But in Galatians 5: 16-19, identified are 15 acts of the sinful nature. Perhaps St. Gregory the Great, during his reign as Pope, attempted at conciseness so he tried to reduce that number and chose only the worst sins that man can commit hence we have a shorter list of capital vices.

But St. Paul (who wrote the Galatians) and St. Gregory  overlooked another human frailty that (this writer) believes, should have been added in the list of sins. There exists another spiritual infirmity which is equally harmful as any of the deadly sins. It’s called self-doubt.

But should  self-doubt be really considered a sin? Is it so serious an offense that it can affect a person negatively and it could possibly ruin his life. 

Many would say it’s a bit too much to consider it as such. But self-doubt is not an ordinary flaw in a person’s character.

For the purpose of this essay, we will define self-doubt, strictly, as “the feeling of not having confidence in yourself or your abilities.”2  The DOUBT being discussed here does not refer to that philosophical function “to cast doubt.”3

The definition above (the one before the disambiguation) makes self-doubt sound harmless…not something immoral or demonic that would make the moralists and bible scholars (both past and present) look at it as a sin. That’s probably the reason no religious movement, Christianity included, classified such human inadequacy as a sin…much more a deadly one.

Self-doubt, however, is not as simple as it seems. This impotence of the human spirit have grave consequences not only to the person having it but  to the family where he belongs and to the society where he lives. A person plagued by it will be less-productive or not productive at all and is definitely not going to contribute anything for his family and society.  

In arguing that self-doubt is a sin it is important to review the nature of sin in the philosophical standpoint.

Sin is said to be a moral evil.4 This brings us to another question…what is evil? St. Thomas defines the word (evil) as a privation of form or order or due measure. Evil implies a deficiency in perfection.4

Self-doubt is clearly an imperfection. It indicates the absence of confidence which is considered essential for a person’s well-being and is a requirement in the pursuit of what Abraham Maslow refers to in Psychology as “self-actualization” or achieving one’s full potential. Sin is a diversion from the perceived ideal order of human living.5 A person doubting his capabilities veers away from becoming the best that he can be and reduces his chance of living life to the fullest.

It could be argued that there are lot of other negative human characters that may indicate imperfections. But none is as damaging to the person as self-doubt. Something is wrong with a person if he lacks confidence and has very low (or  no) feeling of self-worth. These are conditions that  may lead to failure and unhappiness.

In addition, philosophical or moral sin is a human act not in agreement with rational nature and right reason.5

It is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience. 6 It is unreasonable to doubt one’s capabilities. It is a person’s moral obligation to believe in himself. It is not right to think one would fail even without really trying. He needs to have faith not only in God (if he happens to believe in one) but also in himself.

Allowing self-doubt to reign is depriving the self of discovering one’s potentials. When a person decides to doubt himself, he eradicates his ability to fulfill his goals and to achieve his dreams.

Failures are indeed impossible not to happen. But even if one fails in several attempts to succeed he should decide not to stop trying. There’s a long list of famous personalities (like Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates, Walt Disney and Henry Ford) who had their share of failures but  never gave up.

Sin, also, wounds the nature of man.6

Thalk emphasizes that self-doubt destroys the heart, mind, body and soul. It is one of the major obstacles to living the life that people truly deserve. This unhealthy food for the soul drags down a person’s spirit, crushes his ambitions, and prevents him from achieving all that he can.7

Doubt impedes a person’s development. It is the biggest roadblock to self-actualization. Self-doubt prevents people from becoming the best they could be… from realizing their full potentials… from achieving their dreams. Shakespeare stressed, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” Suzy Kassem added that doubt kills more dreams than failure ever did.

Some degree of self-doubt is generally held to be normal. It can be helpful in some cases, as it often leads to introspection and enhanced performance. But it may require medical help when it becomes debilitating, affects daily function, or impedes performance at work or school.8

There’s no immorality committed when one doubts himself. Why should it be then considered a sin?

A sin may either be a sin of commission or a sin of omission. Sins of commission are sins we commit by doing something we shouldn’t do and sins of omission are sins we commit by not doing something.9 The seven deadly sins are all sins of commission except sloth. Self-doubt should be considered also as a sin of omission.

Sloth, which is excessive laziness or the failure to act and utilize one’s talents,10 made it to the list of the “deadly sins.” “Self-doubt,” which is far more damaging to a person than this sin called “sloth,” should be included in the list if only to make people conscious about it. People usually make a conscious effort of avoiding committing things that are considered sinful.

To overcome self-doubt it is important that a person traces the root causes. He should know what factors trigger his self-doubts and learn how to overcome them. If it is lack of knowledge and skills then he must exert efforts to learn and acquire those that he perceives he lacks. There is a possibility that the ones causing him to doubt himself and his capabilities are people… sometimes his own friends. Then by all means avoid them. Equally important it that he must surround himself with people who bring the best in him.

It may be easier said than done but it is important that a person maintains a positive outlook and thinks that there is nothing he cannot achieve or do if he wills it.

———-

References:

  1. http://www.deadlysins.com
  2. http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/self-doubt
  3. http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Rowlands/Philosophy_as_Doubt.shtml
  4. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14004b.htm
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org
  6. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_ccs/archive/cathecism/p3s1c1a8.htm
  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-cynthia-thaik/self-doubt_b_2960936.html
  8. http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/self-doubt
  9. http://www.revelation.co/2015/07/21/sins-of-commission-vs-sins-of-ommission
  10. http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/what-are-seven-deadly-sins

T A K D A

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(A Short Story in Filipino)

S Y N O P S I S

 Hindi tinanggap ni Alfred ang paliwanag ko na ang tao ang gumagawa ng sarili nilang tadhana’t kapalaran. Ang kalahatan ng mga desisyong ginagawa ng isang tao sa  buhay ay magdidikta sa kanyang kakahinatnan at s’ya ring huhubog sa kanyang kinbukasan. Sa sinabi kong iyon ay kinwestyon ng aking kapatid ang pagiging Kristyano ko. Bakit hindi daw ako naniniwala na bago pa man isilang ang tao ay may kapalarang nakaguhit na sa kanyang palad. Naniniwala ang kapatid ko na ang Panginoong Diyos ang nagtatakda nito. Para sa kanya ay nang ang tao’y isilang sinimulang pagulungin ng Lumikha ang gulong ng kanyang kapalaran. Hindi raw kayang pigilin ng tao ang pagikot ng gulong ng kanyang palad, minsa’y papaibabaw siya’t minsan nama’y papailalim.

At nangyari ang isang trahedya sa kayang pamilya…

At sa pagkakataong iyon ay pwedeng sabihin ni Alfred na tila natumbok sya’t nagulungan ng gulong ng kanyang kapalaran. Tila hindi maganda ang nakaguhit na tadhana sa kanyang palad. Ang babaeng sinasamba’t pinakamamahal n’ya ay binawi nang nagpahiram ng buhay sa isang napakasakit na paraan.

Sa gitna ng matinding pagdadalamhati ni Alfred ay tinanong n’ya ako, “Bakit nangyari ito?”

Click on the link below to continue reading…

T A K D A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“ACCENTGOISM” (Playing With Words)

How do I love thee oh Elizabeth Browning’s language?

Let me NOT COUNT  the ways…

Let me JUST COIN a word…

ACCENTGOISM

Yes folks… that’s the word… ACCENTGOISM /ˈakˌsentˌgōˌizəm/

Etymology:  From the words accent and egoistic

(Of course you know the meaning of the words aforementioned. If not, consult “Merriam-Webster.”)

The word was coined by…well…by me!

The word I minted out of the inspiration I derived from my exasperation over some realities I have encountered in the world of ESL teaching.

Stress:  I don’t like you folks to be so stressed on wondering where to put the stress so let me stress that the stress is on the first sylabble.

Part of Speech Label: Of course the word is a noun. Adjective form: accentgoistic

Do you want to make it an adverb? Then add the suffix -ly. Now it becomes accentgoisticly. Better yet make it  accentgoistically.

Pronunciation Guide: You know how to read the words accent  (ˈakˌsent) and egoism(ˈēgōˌizəm). Combine the sounds from the two words. You’ve got to eliminate though the ē sound from ˈēgōˌizəm.  It’s up to you folks if you wish to mimic the way the Americans or the British say those words. Well, you are also free to produce those sounds the way our brethren from downunder do it. Or be real… blurt it out the way your respective frenula would allow it.

Point of Clarification: The frenulum I am referring to above is the frenulum linguae in the mouth, not the frenelum veli in the brain and the frenulum valvae ileocaecalis in the digestive tracts. Not even the ones that teachers of anatomy would discuss when presenting the reproductive systems of both male and female. What is it? Do you want to know? Google it baby!

Related Terms/Synonyms: Linguistic Racism, Linguistic Egocentrism, Monopoly of Language

(Honestly, at the moment I was “playing with the word, ” I was not sure if those terms (in the line immediately above this sentence) were already existing in any form of literature.)

Definitions:

Do I still need to define? Can’t you just refer to the contextual clues provided in the “Related Terms/Synonyms” section?

But if you insist then read on…

1. The tendency of SOME English-speaking people, who,  because of their “distinct accent”  think that they have monopoly of the language.

2. The tendency of SOME English teachers to think that only accent constitute good teaching in English.

3. The idea that only those people with distinct and natural accent are qualified to teach English.

4. The idea that those people who were born and grew up in the native English speakers’ zone are better ESL teachers than those who speak English only as a second language.

5. The tendency of SOME English-speaking people that those who could not speak and write well in English are dumb and ignorant.

There goes “my play with words.”

———-

Dissect the conversation below:

Me: Do you believe that it is the accent in your country that the world must follow?

A friend (a native English speaker): Yes, because we are the most economically powerful country. We set standards in many things, including the way the English language should be uttered.

Me: Oh…China might become the most economically powerful country sooner or later. So, I need to start training myself to speak English the way the Chinese do.

That same native speaker: But they don’t own the language!

Me: Why? Is there anybody who owns the English language?

Him again: Man…you’re ridiculous.

Me: Am I?

Source: “ACCENTGOISM” (Playing With Words)

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