Politics, War, Peace


HySoS as a Contribution to a Better Society – a Healthy Community – and to World Peace!

In 1949, when I was three old, I vividly recall listening to my father’s stories about the horrors of WWII while walking with him through the ruins of his birthplace. Young as I was, I made a promise to myself to help figure out how to STOP war from happening.

In our current day and age—where we have so much knowledge about human behavior and so much technology to facilitate adequate communication—it deeply troubles me that seemingly sensible adults are still involved in making war around the world. And not only does war remain a global issue, but it is a totally accepted phenomenon.

When it comes to loss of life or resources in war though, everybody is horrified.

This article is meant to re-think through what it is WE can do to prevent or reduce war and more specifically acts of war.

Please keep in mind that I am in no way saying that gaining a healthy Sense of ourselves is going to prevent conflict and war altogether. But by knowing how to fully be ourselves, we may eliminate from the equation of life that utterly dangerous and irresponsible element of extreme anger that we aren’t even consciously aware of, but that pops up when triggered.

I plead for us all to take a look at ourselves and be honest:

  • How often do we face moments of extreme anger that we find hard to manage?
  • What can we do to STOP that anger from being generated in ourselves so that we then can raise our children in such a way that they do not even have to think about that anymore as a problem?

The answer is: we need to assess our Sense of Self and if it is not healthy we have to work on ourselves until it is and raise our children accordingly. Only the presence of a healthy Sense of Self keeps unnecessary fear and anger at bay.

In the course of my own life experience, I have come across a number of moments in which I quite ferociously protected the justifications for my personal little wars with family members and loved ones. I humbly admit that the emotions I had certainly had the potential of doing great harm to others as well as to myself. I am shocked to admit the enormity of destructive rage I felt inside at times and I know that in a different setting things wouldn’t have ended up so well for me and possibly for others.

The roots of the overwhelming drive to destroy are fear, anger, and rage! That fear can be generated by anticipating what would happen if we do not get our (perceived) needs met. That anger can come up when we are thwarted in one way or another when taking care of getting those needs met. .

If we do not decide to work our way to a Restored Sense of Self™ our lives can turn into one big performance and our ability to feel safe depends on the outcome of it. With a good performance we feel “allowed to be”—with a failing performance we perceive ourselves as not  being validated, which, if we do not have a Sense of Self feels like a threat of annihilation.

Why do atrocities happen in war? How are they related to the mindset of those who commit these crimes? What would be the difference in outcome if that same man or woman had a healthy Sense of Self? Having a healthy Sense of Self means that a person is not dependent on things from the outside for one’s Sense of Self. It makes a person present to one’s Self and in charge of one’s own life and it enables a person to make different, but respectful choices.

Historically we used to follow what I call “the tribal system.” We used to call specific countries “home” but these days many of us are world citizens, global travelers. Relationships change when you are face to face with people who come from a nation that historically were considered to be your “enemy.” We are all equal to each other; we may have different skin color, speak different languages, and have different cultural values but the fundamentals are that each of us has a body, that we need food and shelter, and that we are mortal.

There is charity around the globe to help our fellow men relieve their needs for food and shelter. Most people do not like to see others suffer and if they can help they will.

The hero syndrome is our heritage as humans. Although it used to be useful and necessary to fight against each other, the time has come to leave war behind as it no longer makes sense; our values have changed. Often times, we now see those who used to be enemies living in the same neighborhoods, on the same streets, and even helping each other while their children play together and go to the same schools!

We know each other, we love each other, we live in each other’s countries and learn each other’s languages. Should we not grow up as individuals and take responsibility for how we live and let others live as well?

When people have a healthy Sense of Self they are more tolerant and patient and willing to find agreements that suit both parties. When the element of extreme anger has been filtered out what is left is a sensible, good-willed person, most of the time.

With a healthy Sense of Self we sense that human equality and know that owning the same things as someone else does not enlarge us as a person. We are still the same person regardless of our possessions, and with that in mind we can be self-sufficient and independent. Only when we don’t need what others have and are independent can we be interdependent and form a real community, a society without war!

*I, Antoinetta Vogels, author of Healthy Sense of Self and creator of the Sense of Self Method, am neither a medical doctor, nor a psychologist, but I share my SoS Method with you as it has helped me to greatly improve my own life and that of my family; it can do the same for you.

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