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Four principles of personal or group identity

 

1. A Each person or group has the right to a healthy, positive identity regardless of past history.

2. Each person has the right to define his or her own identity rather than having to accept someone else’s definition.

3. A healthy self-definition is one that does not require some other person or group to stand in a negative relationship to oneself.

4. While personal relationships inevitably involve both good and bad experiences, a healthy person does not dwell on the negative but instead collects positive memories and impressions of the other.

 

Commentary

1. Regardless of present circumstance, each person is entitled to feel proud of himself or herself for having made a whole-hearted effort to be a good person, do good to others, or create something of value. The judgment is made relative to what might otherwise have been.

2. Today’s Americans are manipulated with respect to their identity by others who do not like them or who may not have their best interests at heart. In such a condition, people need to declare their identity independence. They need to reject ill-meaning criticism and listen to their own inner voice. No one has the right to tell another person who he or she is. This violates personal boundaries.

3. Two examples of unhealthy personality are supremacist attitudes and the idea of historical victimhood. The white supremacist needs black people to stand in an inferior relationship to himself. Black people who see themselves as historical victims need white people to explain their own failings. The healthy person stands on his own two feet. His self-image depends on what he himself has done, not on what some other person is or what has been done to him.

4. Historians who compile the bad things that particular groups have done are like the wife (or husband) who keeps a record of all the bad things that a spouse has done in the course of their marriage and constantly reminds the other of them. Such relationships are bound to fail.

 
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