I recently got mugged and lost my recently boughtsmartphone, which led me to a downward spiral of negative thoughts. These negative thoughts sent me into a self loathing state, which led me to be unproductive for a fair few days, whilst simultaneously led to a deep feeling of shame. Why? because I had gotten a loan from my mother to get it, and I got mugged while out on the town, messing around with girls and booze.
I never really had a smartphone before, as I was never a big fan of technology or desperately using social media on my commute to work or university, but the allure of its camera for future amateur journalism and youtube videos for this blog was something I was looking forward to. No, I don’t have an active instagram, and the only social media you could say I’m addicted to is the bombardment of nothing news and gossip that comes from facebook.
I lost my smartphone on the street at 2 am
My family and friends have always advised me to be careful when on the street, and to not go out by myself in the dangerous parts of the city. Since nothing violent usually happened to me due to my street smarts, I became arrogant, and after drinking with a few friends and meeting a certain European lovely for a date, I was headed home a little too buzzed for my own good.
I felt shameful for getting screwed over in those conditions
My mother helped me pay for the smartphone, as she saw me saving money up to pay for one and took pity on me. Since she’s not a millionaire or someone with a lot of bankroll, this immediatley led me to feel a downward spiral of shame. I felt like a shitty son, who lost something valuable because of his childish desire for alcohol, laughs and cheap women.
Was I right to feel this way? sure, getting robbed leaves you feeling a deep sense of powerlessness. Should I have let this affect my performance and thoughts in the following days? fuck no. The self defeating spiral of thoughts led me to feel a deeply rooted shameful feeling.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
I was watching mad men during my brief stint of shame. I was feeling stupid, idiotic, and no better then a fat chick on a chocolate ice cream binge. The episode I watched was the one where Don Draper made a substantial bonus, which he intended to use to invite his mistress to Paris to get away from it all for a while.
In the episode, he goes to see her, as she’s visited by a hippie beatnik, who was a friend of hers at the time. The man had been previously rude to Don, critcizing his profession as an ad man whilst attempting to belittle him. His mistress had invited the beatnik with a few friends to smoke weed and listen to a Miles Davis record. Don still urged her to take his offer to go to Paris, but she tells him to stay for a bit longer, and that then they would go.
I immediatley felt something was off while watching the scene, as Don did in the show as well. After a while of vagrance and pseudo intellectual blabber, Don tells his mistress to leave, that they would miss their flight to Paris if they didn’t and that he was tired of the scene. She began being hesitating, and after Don clearly sees a picture that he had taken of his mistress and the beatnik, it becomes obvious to him that she was screwing the guy, and that her and the man were in love. Don then gives the bonus money to his mistress, and then takes his exit. He then returns home to see his wife and his kids.
Upon applying the lens I had applied to myself to Don Draper, all I could think about was how did Don Draper not feel like a complete loser? he had been rejected over a weed smoking snivelling little beatnik, and denied even when he brought over 5000 dollars which he intended to use on taking his mistress to Europe.
Then instead of using that money for himself or his family, he comes home, without his bonus, after having been with useless hippies for hours (people who wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire). But then how did Don not succumb to shame? why did Don view this is nothing more then an inconvenience, when with my then thought process and logic, I thought him to be a ‘loser?’
Self defeating thoughts are irrational.
You may begin telling me that Don is an immoral asshole and that’s why he’s okay with it. That’s the easy answer. The truth is that the character of Don Draper lives with such abundance that he knows his true worth, and doesn’t place it on what his mistress or a few hippie losers thought of him. His frame was solid, and smart strong people don’t beat themselves up over mistakes.
Don had done worst then me, but landed on his feet and continued his life.
Be careful to not hold yourself to such a high standard that you paralyze your energies and become filled with self doubt. It’s good to have high expectations of yourself and go the extra mile, but failures and mistakes are a part of life. We’re men.
We like to drink, we like to gamble, we like to flirt with young hot women and we like getting in fights. Should we be ashamed for that shit? we should try to supress it, sure, replace it with virtue, but when it happens it happens. It takes a strong man to live by a moral code and to do right by himself, but it takes an even stronger man to forgive himself for his fuck ups.
If you look for moral assurance elsewhere, it’ll be hard to find. People’s empathy is limited, and no one understands your own plights better then you, so learn to forgive yourself, look forward, and be a better friend to yourself.