Viewing a “Disadvantage”

People face many conflicts, some of which are based on perceived disadvantages. Learned helplessness in society can prevent people from getting past those perceived disadvantages. The question is, how much are people willing to let go of the perception of disadvantage in order to progress? Some people acknowledge disadvantage as a complete way of life. Either they are unaware of any other possibility or they are unwilling to realize or experience those other possibilities for themselves. For example, some people who are sick may be convinced of their incurability in order to stay in their state of ill health because it is what they’ve accustomed themselves to mentally and physically. Likewise, citizens of crime ridden neighborhoods may see any relief from that kind of lifestyle as something unattainable that can never be achieved. If it can be achieved, it is for other people, not them. It can also be for cultural reasons- if a group accepts that it is in their culture to live a certain way, especially if that way is detrimental and hurtful to themselves and others, why do anything to change it?

When the opportunity for an improved life arrives, how quick are people to dismiss it in order to stay in their current circumstances? Plenty of reasons might be given to the point of dismissing the opportunity entirely. In other words, the door is open, but how willing are individuals to walk through it? Equally, how much are people willing to justify not walking through it? Is it an issue of readiness, practicality, or comfort? Perhaps it is believability or level of acceptance of what may be on the other side. Maybe it is one or all of these. Also, the definition of “an improved life” differs from person to person. For some, “an improved life” means more protection while for others it may mean more control. In what way that control is manifested is defined by the individual or individuals wanting it. Those are just a few ways in which “an improved life” can be defined. Ultimately, the real definition lies within the individual or group that seeks to realize that improved life.

In today’s world, people hear things from all sides protesting this versus that. It is a battle of ideas out there and people are scrambling to discern which one is the “right” thing to believe out of all of them. People then appear to base their decisions on how they are able to work around or with their perceived disadvantage. That or they are seeing just how disadvantaged they will be after they make a decision. It is almost like the disadvantage is the factor that will define how the decision to improve will be made. Unfortunately, that is how many people discern their choices. Meanwhile, they may be wondering if the decision made will be the “right” one. With so much fear perpetuated institutionally and by other means, it is a wonder if society will ever make a decision to pull itself out of the situation it is in. At the same time, however, some in society see it as necessary to maintain the idea that some are more disadvantaged than others. This can be for any number of reasons. As long as that imbalance is maintained through the idea of “disadvantage” and learned helplessness, the status quo can be preserved.

Any change that takes place requires a change in perception and thought. It can be difficult and it takes want and discipline to do. While it may also be difficult to find a solution while simultaneously directing focus on a “disadvantage” (whether it is personal or societal), a beneficial outcome is something that can eventually be worked out. It may be wise to reconsider the perception of a “disadvantage’, for a disadvantage has the ability to be an advantage (or create another new advantage) in another area even though it may not seem like it at that moment. It takes the realization of that thought to make that change in perception possible. Guidance always benefits an individual. It is also beneficial to learn from the guidance and move on from it. A person must be able to walk on their own just like a group must be able to function independently of any external dependence. At the same time, this does not mean to arrogantly turn down assistance when it is offered. One knows when guidance is needed and will accept it when they are willing. Creating this balance dispels any idea of a “disadvantage” and can further the move along to an improved quality of life for all.

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