Discover more from Mindset Shifts—Essays by Barry Brownstein
The Mindset that Puts Liberty at Risk
When we build our identities around our grievances, we play into the hands of illiberal politicians
Recently, I recorded an AIER podcast with my good friend Kate Wand. The topic was grievances, something we all know something about. Kate observes,
Sometimes, we like to say we woke up on the ‘wrong side of the bed.’
We are immediately flooded with thoughts about the things we don’t want to do today, about the disagreement we had with our partners the night before, about the dirty pile of dishes that is certainly still piled up in the kitchen, which we will now have to clean because no one else is going to do it.
We begrudgingly drag our feet into the kitchen, and start washing the dishes loudly, murmuring under our breath and clanging pots and pans loudly enough to disturb everyone else in the household. They have to know how hard we are working. Everyone else is lazy, uncaring, and don’t appreciate everything we do for them.
When we start our days with a victim mindset, we are certain that we are the biggest victim around, and that everyone and everything outside of us is to blame.
We all do this sometimes. Self-awareness is a choice, a practice, and it unlocks the key of choice we have over our circumstances, and how much our grievances affect our mindset.
We can easily turn our day around by doing what needs to be done without complaining, externally or internally, and taking responsibility for our thoughts and feelings — realizing that they come from within, and not without.
Then Kate asks these crucial questions:
But what happens when every day is a bad day? When every day is dependent on what others around us do? When that extends to the world around us, to the cards we have been dealt, to the systems that ‘oppress us’ because of our gender, race, background, ethnicity, or any other identity card we base our self-concept on?
Before listening to what Kate and I think about these questions, please take 5 minutes to read my recent essay on the subject.
Our mindset has a ripple effect that shapes the society around us. When we build our identities around our grievances, we play into the hands of illiberal politicians who promise to solve our problems for us at the cost of our inner and outer liberty.
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