America, the Eastern gurus tell us, is the land of self-hate. Maybe that goes back to the misfits who settled the new land. They were pushed out or made to feel less-than in their own homelands so, with nothing to lose, tried to build a life and find inner peace elsewhere. What they left us with in the inability to love ourselves.
Lawyers represent an extreme example of self-hate. After all, it might just take that to endure all the sacrifice needed to get into a good law school, nail down a good job, and navigate the peril of an up-or-out system. When the work is taken away from them, they tend to get mighty busy blaming themselves. After I delivered a talk on career transition at the New York State Bar Association (Download NYSBAtalkinVITALSPEECHESOFDAY0, several jobless lawyers came up to me to confess how they had screwed up on the last job or their entire careers.
The reality is, at least we realize if we love ourselves, that life is always changing. Industries go through paradigm shifts. My old field of college teaching in the humanities did in the 1970s. Until I lost it all through self-hate in 2003 (Download Geezerguts), I carried the burden of that self-blame.
This Valentine's Day, let's start on the journey of self-love. Human beings that we are, yes we sure make mistakes. That's a given, not a sentence for extreme punishment.