3 minutes reading time (573 words)

Humiliation is not Self-Improvement

By Rob Redmond - February 28, 2009 / http://www.24fightingchickens.com

Being humiliated does not improve you as a person. The experience of humiliation is negative, and while it may serve to provide motivation, it is motivation through fear. Champions do not become champions because they are afraid of being humiliated. They become champions because they have native ability, they practice in an unreasonably obsessive fashion that provides them with feedback, and they believe that they are entitled to win. World champions are not born through humiliation, so why would you seek out humiliation as an experience or believe that it helps you improve?

The belief that humiliation is a positive experience is a rationalization. A rationalization is any attempt by a person to justify a choice by creating an illogical excuse to continue.

Examples of rationalizations are rampant:

  • The Dojo Kun does no harm, so let’s use it.
  • I probably couldn’t find a job elsewhere, so I’ll just stay here and suffer.
  • No one else would love me, so I will not leave my abuser.
  • I don’t trust government, the government doesn’t like heroine, so heroin must be good for you.

Rationalization is a powerful human function that we all engage in regularly. It is a combination of denial, the willful refusal to acknowledge obvious and observable facts and evidence, and justification. Just because something does no harm does not mean that it is productive to use. You don’t know what would happen if you searched for new employment. Assuming others will never love you is no reason to remain in a relationship where there is no love and you are in danger. The government is never justification for anything other than ensuring accurate reporting of taxes.

Rationalization is powerful and real. Beware of rationalizations such as these:

  • That guy took me apart in that sparring match, and now I’m not as arrogant
  • I just took that guy apart in a sparring match, and I did him a favor and made him a better person
  • My instructor pointed out several errors in my technique in front of everyone, and it helps keep me humble

These are all lies people tell to themselves with great regularity. The self-justifying behavior of repeating rationalizations to excuse harming others or suffering defeat or public embarrassment because it leads to betterment of the self is all too easy and all too common.

It is also all too accepted.

Look, you are not a better person now that you have experienced the emotion of embarrassment after being defeated. You are not going to exhibit more friendly behavior with others tomorrow at work because last night you learned you have a hole in your defenses and a senior member of your Karate club was able to punch and kick through them and hit you. You are not going to suddenly help old ladies cross the street and stop cheating on your taxes because you were so exhausted from training over the weekend that you threw up in the bushes outside the dojo.

Those are real experiences, and yes they affect you, but assuming that they affect you in ways that you can predict or that are necessarily good? That’s just your imagination.

Stop blowing your karate experience out of proportion. Stop telling other people that their kids will get better grades, be better behaved in school, and that they will become better people if they punch and kick until they are really tired with you.

None of it is true, and truly humble people wouldn’t make such claims anyhow.

 

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