Philosophy

Don’t Get Erased—You’re Not Irreplaceable

Many people think that they’re irreplaceable.  Please think again.  There’s nothing that’s so special about you that cannot replaced.  When people start to demonstrate to you that they believe that you cannot make it without them, then you need to show them that you can.  You will find out that you don’t need those people in your life who feel that you’re nothing without them.  Who are they to think this in the first place?  People can think that they’re so much better than you, but you have to let them know that they’re thinking far too highly of themselves.  You can communicate just how much you’re not dependent on the people in your live who feel like you cannot make it without out them by severing all connections and communication with them.  Then they will have an opportunity to understand how they can be replaced.

It’s excessive hubris that causes people to consider themselves as irreplaceable.

When you erase those folks who act like they’re irreplaceable from your life, they will start to see just how valuable you’re to them.  Unfortunately, it could be too late for them to have a chance to have you to once again become a part of their lives again.  It can be quite challenging to get someone to become a part of your life again once they have made a firm commitment to erase you from his or her life.  Therefore, don’t allow your thinking, words, and actions to put you in a position where someone you really love feels compelled to erase you from his or her life.

You can also fool yourself into believing that people are not important in your life.  You can pretend like people don’t offer you many physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits.  When people become fed up with you not valuing them and taking advantage of them, they will inevitably break all ties to you.  In the end, you will have to determine whether your excessive pride was more important than what you lost in those people.

No man or woman is an island.  Therefore, we all need people in our lives to help us and care for us.  Don’t ever develop a mindset where you feel like you can make it solely on your own—you will fail miserably.  You may think that you can be happy all by yourself because of your wealth, achievements, degrees, and etc., but none of those things you can truly enjoy all by yourself.  Ultimately, you’re going to want to share the value of those aforementioned things with at least one special person.

If you have special people in your life who have really proved to you that they love you, then you need to let them know you truly appreciate them.  Don’t walk around trying to prove to them that you don’t need them—prove to them that you love them and appreciate them.  Why are you walking around trying to prove to someone who truly loves you that you don’t need him or her, especially when the person has not given you any reason to need to prove this?

You need to know that people can replace you.  They can find another person to be that person you are to them.  You’re not so great that your replacement is difficult to find.  In fact, your replacement may already be someone a person has in his or her life.

Get real—you’re not irreplaceable!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Look Inward Before You Look Outward

We cannot be a help to others until we are a help to ourselves first. Far too often, broken people who need healing themselves are the main ones who like to criticize others and like to appear like they exude strength—when it’s really their weakness that radiates brightest. You cannot lead until you lead within yourself first. You cannot criticize until you have engaged in a comprehensive self-critique first. Never try to seem like you have made it to the mountaintop on your own, especially when you know that your ride to the mountaintop has been made possible by those who have assisted you.

Your critiques of others need to come from a spirit of compassion, while still maintaining a commitment to truth. Always make sure that what you have to say is guided by a desire to promote uplift. I am not contending that uplift has to always come from the most polite words and actions—uplift does not always come from polite words and actions—but your words and actions should have the purpose of moving people upward.

Don’t overlook your weaknesses and flaws when you are critiquing others. Your weaknesses and flaws can be the very sources of the problem with how you are critiquing others.

Guard the way that you perceive others with great care. The way you perceive others can simply be a product of how you view yourself. People are different so you have to understand that you cannot impose your values, paradigms, and expectations for yourself on others. This is what makes the world such a beauty place to live. We all do things and view things differently—We are simply different! Although we are all different in many ways, we are all united by the reality that we are human. We must never underestimate the power of what being human can do for us and the limitations of what being human means.

I’m all for people judging others—have at it! I just want people to make sure that they have engaged in close examinations of themselves first. When you have an honest evaluation of yourself first, you will offer yourself an opportunity to see why you say the things you say to others, why you view people the way you do, why you question them the way you, and why you think what they are doing is wrong or right.

Spend some time with yourself. Learn yourself more. Learn how you might have to move beyond the limitations of yourself to understand others and to understand why they don’t do and say the things you do. Take a moment to rise above what you would have them to do and say and embrace the value of what it is they do and say.

The only way that you are going to get some of those inner problems and demons that you battle is to allow yourself to undergo a serious comprehensive self-critique. Always ground your serious self-critiques in truth. Be willing to acknowledge and embrace the lessons that you learn from self-critiques that are truly grounded in truth.

Love yourself for who you are. If other people don’t love you for simply who you are, then get away from them because they don’t matter.

Even though you don’t have to share everything with everybody to be a real person and an open book, I recommend that you be more transparent with people about why you are revealing what you do disclose to them. The reason why I recommend this is it helps clear thinking people to comprehend that there could be a vital personal reason involving your safety that is responsible for why you don’t divulge everything down to the most microscopic detail to them.

When we look inward first and not outward first, then we will begin to gain a better understanding about why things may appear the way they do. Inward evaluations bring us to an understanding of physical, social, and emotional realities that we never might have considered and discovered without true and comprehensive self-examinations.

By looking within before you look outward, you might just find what you have been missing all of your life. You might just find the answers to what you have been searching for all this time. You might even begin to muster the courage to simply be yourself.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Fear of Those Who Resist Social Cloning and Psychic Slavery

Mental Slavery

What I am often unsettled and unnerved by is the reality that many people always want me to be like them. Because I am willing to be myself, this unsettles, unnerves, and unhouses them in fundamental ways. I am a truly emancipated Black man. This means that I do not allow societal expectations and norms to limit me in any way. Even though I am tremendously happy with being a truly emancipated Black man, this does not stop people from attempting to change me and make me more like them. What I have learned is people want to change me because they do not want me to outshine them, and they do not want me to make them feel uncomfortable and embarrass them in front of their friends and colleagues. The purpose of this article is to explain the phenomenon of “social cloning,” explain the problems “social cloning” engenders, and elucidate why it is important to resist.

I know you have to be saying—what is “social cloning”? Just to make my definition clear to you, “social cloning” is the process by which people force others to be more like them or exactly like them. It seems that people do not want you to be “different.” For some reason, “difference” threatens the safety of their embracement of hegemony, the status quo, and societal expectations and norms. Fortunately, there are some people, like me, who find simply embracing hegemony, the status quo, and societal expectations and norms to be problematic. What seems to be the goal of those who try to force people to be just like them is to allow themselves to remain safe and comfortable in their limited world of possibilities. The reason why they have limited possibilities is they have self-imposed a life of slavery on themselves. They allow themselves to fall prey to psychic slavery. As we all know, this is the most damaging form of slavery because it has the potential to last forever.

Unfortunately, many Black people allow themselves to be victimized by self-imposed psychic slavery. They are not willing to live a free life—a life without limits. While I am certainly not advocating that people should not be law-abiding citizens, I am arguing for people to do the things that please them most. You should not live a life that is based on what other people think that you should be and what they think you should be doing. You also should not live a life that is not real. I see so many unhappy people because they are living lives and doing things that they do not want to do. For example, I know many people who get married, have babies, maintain heterosexual relationships, try to act like thugs, pretend to be straight, but these things are not really what they want to be and/or do. They just do these things so that they will not be considered “different.” For many people, being “different” is not something that they can handle. It is almost like being dirty: When one gets dirty, there is always this feeling that you need to be cleansed. Living a socially cloned life and life of self-imposed psychic slavery has to be a miserable life. Life is too short—one should live life with much more freedom and with much more concern for what he or she can uniquely contribute to the world.

I am often criticized for virtually everything that I do—simply because I am a truly emancipated Black man. Efforts to criticize my freedom-saturated actions are aimed at trying to make me stop doing things that are outside of the norm, and people want me to stop making them have to constantly live with the reality that they are unwilling to live a life of Truth, instead of a life of falsehoods. Because I am such a compassionate person, I want my readers to know that I am not attacking those who allow themselves to be socially cloned and be victimized by a self-imposed psychic slavery. I simply have to tell them the Truth. As I often say, justice is what love looks like in public. As a person who fights for justice, I have to tell people that living a lie is a self-denial of experiencing and enjoying the fullness of the Earth.

You can always identify those people who live a life of self-imposed psychic slavery and who have been socially cloned: These are the people who are always pointing out the harm in everything that you do that goes against the status quo. What people really would like for people who resist social cloning and psychic slavery to do is just sit down and shut up. Please do not succumb to this pressure. I know that it can often be hard to resist and can be tremendously unpopular. The world, however, needs people who are willing to be “different” and needs people who are willing to take “unpopular” positions and actions. Just think about it: When you take unpopular positions and actions and are willing to be different, you will be in the company of the greatest man you can ever know: Jesus. Jesus took unpopular positions and actions and was willing to be different.

People know the difference between real and fake, so please do not think that you are fooling anybody. When you work so hard to put on false images, the world knows that these are false images, so stop investing great time in maintaining these images. The people who really gain the real respect of people are the people who are authentic. In order to be authentic, you must be guided by transparency in nearly all that you do and say. I really hope that people will begin to improve the world dramatically by offering us your authenticity and not your socially cloned selves. I long for a day when real people will rise up and make this world a truly better place to live in, a place where true and pervasive freedom can blossom.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison