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The Courage to Be Disliked


Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga


Este libro me lo regaló una querida amiga hace unos meses, estábamos conversando de filosofía y psicología y ésta obra salió a relucir. Desde entonces fui leyendo despacio para intentar comprender y asimilar los conceptos.

El tema que impulsa es aplicar los conocimientos del psicólogo / filósofo Alfred Adler fundador de la “psicología individual” que es básicamente; yo soy responsable de las decisiones que tomo y estoy como estoy porque así lo quiero. Muy parecido al “hay cosas bajo mi control y otras que no lo están” del estoicismo.

Es decir que la etiología la cual atribuye los efectos (abandono de los estudios) a causas en el pasado (mi maestro no me quería) como algo que no es cierto. El determinismo no te rige, son tus decisiones.

Estos dos señores escriben el libro como un diálogo entre un joven estudiante y un experimentado filósofo durante una serie de encuentros en los cuáles discuten y a base de preguntas y respuestas van enseñando. Muy socrático el estilo.

Hablan de bastantes temas, el que más me llamó la atención es el que todos los problemas son debido a relaciones interpersonales. Además, que no podemos ser individuos si vivimos solos, somos individuos porque vivimos con otras personas. También discuten sobre la cooperación, el valor (no de valentía) personal, el sentido de la comunidad y la confianza en otros.

Pienso que este libro es uno de esos que se disfruta más con cada leída y si no es posible, entonces revisar los títulos de cada tema (cada encuentro / noche) y dentro de ellos los sub temas. Hay que aceptar nuestra propia responsabilidad en nuestras decisiones de hacer o no hacer algo, este libro realmente aterriza el punto en cuánto a esto. Bastante estoico, me gustó.

Recomendado para quien quiera seguir una filosofía de vida sin llamarle estoicismo porque ese nombre no es muy llamativo en ésta época. Todos necesitamos de una filosofía de vida si queremos vivir bien.

Algunas citas

Chapter 7: Are You Okay Just As You Are?

  • You want to be Y or someone else because you are utterly focused on what you were born with. Instead, you’ve got to focus on what you can make of your equipment.

Chapter 9: People Always Choose Not to Change

  • Adlerian psychology is a psychology of courage.

  • One might say you are lacking in the courage to be happy.

Chapter 10: Your Life Is Decided Here and Now

  • One will have to change. You, just as you are, have to choose your lifestyle. It might seem hard, but it is really quite simple.

  • “No matter what has occurred in your life up to this point, it should have no bearing at all on how you live from now on.”

Chapter 13: Feelings of Inferiority Are Subjective Assumptions

  • I’m just a huge blob of feelings of inferiority.

  • this pimple-covered face doesn’t help matters, and I’ve got strong feelings of inferiority when it comes to my education and occupation.

  • YOUTH: Value judgment? PHILOSOPHER: It’s the feeling that one has no worth, or that one is worth only so much.

Chapter 14: An Inferiority Complex Is an Excuse

  • When someone is insisting on the logic of “A is the situation, so B cannot be done” in such a way in everyday life, that is not something that fits in the feeling of inferiority category. It is an inferiority complex.

  • You don’t want to change so much that you’d be willing to sacrifice the pleasures you enjoy now—for instance, the time you spend playing and engaged in hobbies. In other words, you’re not equipped with the courage to change your lifestyle. It’s easier with things just as they are now, even if you have some complaints or limitations.

Chapter 15: Braggarts Have Feelings of Inferiority

  • “The one who boasts does so only out of a feeling of inferiority.”

  • Adler says, “In fact, if we were to ask ourselves who is the strongest person in our culture, the logical answer would be, the baby. The baby rules and cannot be dominated.” The baby rules over the adults with his weakness. And it is because of this weakness that no one can control him

  • as long as one continues to use one’s misfortune to one’s advantage in order to be “special,” one will always need that misfortune.

Chapter 16: Life Is Not a Competition

  • The pursuit of superiority is the mind-set of taking a single step forward on one’s own feet, not the mind-set of competition of the sort that necessitates aiming to be greater than other people.

  • We do not walk in order to compete with someone. It is in trying to progress past who one is now that there is value.

  • YOUTH: Does that mean you dropped out of competition? That you somehow accepted defeat? PHILOSOPHER: No. I withdrew from places that are preoccupied with winning and losing.

  • If that rival was someone you could call a comrade, it’s possible that it would lead to self-improvement. But in many cases, a competitor will not be your comrade.

Chapter 17: You’re the Only One Worrying About Your Appearance

  • Even if you’re not a loser, even if you’re someone who keeps on winning, if you are someone who has placed himself in competition, you will never have a moment’s peace. You don’t want to be a loser. And you always have to keep on winning if you don’t want to be a loser.

  • The person who always has the will to help another in times of need—that is someone who may properly be called your comrade.

Chapter 18: From Power Struggle to Revenge

  • Before long, it turns into a heated argument, and neither of you is willing to accept any differences of opinion until finally it reaches the point where he starts engaging in personal attacks—that you’re stupid, and it’s because of people like you that this country doesn’t change, that sort of thing.

  • And then the other man, who was seeking to defeat you, withdraws in a sportsmanlike manner. The thing is, the power struggle doesn’t end there. Having lost the dispute, he rushes on to the next stage. YOUTH: The next stage? PHILOSOPHER: Yes. It’s the revenge stage.

  • And once the interpersonal relationship reaches the revenge stage, it is almost impossible for either party to find a solution. To prevent this from happening, when one is challenged to a power struggle, one must never allow oneself to be taken in.

Chapter 19: Admitting Fault Is Not Defeat

  • When you are challenged to a fight, and you sense that it is a power struggle, step down from the conflict as soon as possible. Do not answer his action with a reaction. That is the only thing we can do.

  • Irascible people do not have short tempers—it is only that they do not know that there are effective communication tools other than anger

  • If you think you are right, regardless of what other people’s opinions might be, the matter should be closed then and there. However, many people will rush into a power struggle and try to make others submit to them. And that is why they think of “admitting a mistake” as “admitting defeat.”

  • Because of one’s mind-set of not wanting to lose, one is unable to admit one’s mistake, the result being that one ends up choosing the wrong path.

  • Admitting mistakes, conveying words of apology, and stepping down from power struggles—none of these things is defeat.

  • It’s only when we take away the lenses of competition and winning and losing that we can begin to correct and change ourselves.

Chapter 20: Overcoming the Tasks That Face You in Life

  • Adler made three categories of the interpersonal relationships that arise out of these processes.

  • The interpersonal relationships that a single individual has no choice but to confront when attempting to live as a social being—these are the life tasks.

  • For example, a man sends out résumés to find work and gets interviews, only to be rejected by one company after another. It hurts his pride. He starts to wonder what the purpose in working is if he has to go through such things.

  • In other words, everything is an interpersonal relationship issue.

Chapter 21: Red String and Rigid Chains

  • If you change, those around you will change too.

  • When one can think, Whenever I am with this person, I can behave very freely, one can really feel love. One can be in a calm and quite natural state, without having feelings of inferiority or being beset with the need to flaunt one’s superiority. That is what real love is like.

  • It is fundamentally impossible for a person to live life completely alone, and it is only in social contexts that the person becomes an “individual.”

Chapter 22: Don’t Fall for the “Life-Lie”

  • You had the goal of taking a dislike to Mr. A beforehand and then started looking for the flaws to satisfy that goal.

  • Adler never discusses the life tasks or life-lies in terms of good and evil. It is not morals or good and evil that we should be discussing, but the issue of courage.

Chapter 23: From the Psychology of Possession to the Psychology of Practice

  • “It’s not what one is born with but what use one makes of that equipment.”

Chapter 24: Deny the Desire for Recognition

  • Adlerian psychology denies the need to seek recognition from others.

Chapter 25: Do Not Live to Satisfy the Expectations of Others

  • Why is it that people seek recognition from others? In many cases, it is due to the influence of reward-and-punishment education.

Chapter 26: How to Separate Tasks

  • There would be no point if the parents studied instead of the child, would there?

  • If it’s studying that is the issue, one tells the child that that is his task, and one lets him know that one is ready to assist him whenever he has the urge to study.

  • As a result of having received counseling, what kind of resolution does the client make? To change his lifestyle, or not. This is the client’s task, and the counselor cannot intervene.

Chapter 27: Discard Other People’s Tasks

  • other people are not living to satisfy your expectations.

  • Suppose your partner did not act as you had wished. Would you still be able to believe in that person? Would you still be able to love that person? The task of love that Adler speaks of is composed of such questions.

  • If you are leading a life of worry and suffering—which stems from interpersonal relationships—learn the boundary of “From here on, that is not my task.” And discard other people’s tasks.

Chapter 28: How to Rid Yourself of Interpersonal Relationship Problems

  • You should think, What I should do is face my own tasks in my own life without lying.

  • First, one should ask, “Whose task is this?” Then do the separation of tasks.

  • And do not intervene in other people’s tasks, or allow even a single person to intervene in one’s own tasks.

Chapter 29: Cut the Gordian Knot

  • When reward is at the base of an interpersonal relationship, there’s a feeling that wells up in one that says, “I gave this much, so you should give me that much back.” This is a notion that is quite different from separation of tasks, of course. We must not seek reward, and we must not be tied to it.

  • As Adler says, “Children who have not been taught to confront challenges will try to avoid all challenges.”

Chapter 30: Desire for Recognition Makes You Unfree

  • If one is living in a such a way as to satisfy other people’s expectations, and one is entrusting one’s own life to others, that is a way of living in which one is lying to oneself and continuing that lying to include the people around one.

  • Separating one’s tasks is not an egocentric thing. Intervening in other people’s tasks is essentially an egocentric way of thinking, however.

Chapter 31: What Real Freedom Is

  • A stone is powerless. Once it has begun to roll downhill, it will continue to roll until released from the natural laws of gravity and inertia. But we are not stones.

  • “freedom is being disliked by other people.”

  • the cost of freedom in interpersonal relationships is that one is disliked by other people.

  • The courage to be happy also includes the courage to be disliked. When you have gained that courage, your interpersonal relationships will all at once change into things of lightness.

Chapter 32: You Hold the Cards to Interpersonal Relationships

  • But if they can grasp the separation of tasks, they will notice that they are holding all the cards.

Chapter 33: Individual Psychology and Holism

  • A normally coolheaded person doesn’t expect to have a fit of violent emotion and start shouting at someone. We are not struck by emotions that somehow exist independently from us. Each of us is a unified whole.

  • when one flies into a rage and shouts at another person, it is “I as a whole” who is choosing to shout. One would never think of emotions that somehow exist independently—unrelated to one’s intentions, as it were—as having produced that shouting voice

  • This view of the human being as “I as a whole,” as an indivisible being that cannot be broken down into parts, is referred to as “holism.”

Chapter 34: The Goal of Interpersonal Relationships Is a Feeling of Community

  • community feeling is the most important index for considering a state of interpersonal relations that is happy.

  • Community feeling is also referred to as “social interest,” that is to say, “interest in society.”

Chapter 35: Why Am I Only Interested In Myself?

  • will seem to be looking at other people, while they are actually looking only at themselves. They lack concern for others and are concerned solely with the “I.” Simply put, they are self-centered.

  • A way of living in which one is constantly troubled by how one is seen by others is a self-centered lifestyle in which one’s sole concern is with the “I.”

Chapter 36: You Are Not the Center of the World

  • One needs to think not, What will this person give me? but rather, What can I give to this person? That is commitment to the community.

  • A sense of belonging is something that one acquires through one’s own efforts—it is not something one is endowed with at birth. Community feeling is the much-debated key concept of Adlerian psychology.

Chapter 37: Listen to the Voice of a Larger Community

  • Living in fear of one’s relationships falling apart is an unfree way to live,

  • Living in fear of one’s relationships falling apart is an unfree way to live, in which one is living for other people.

Chapter 38: Do Not Rebuke or Praise

  • When one person praises another, the goal is “to manipulate someone who has less ability than you.” It is not done out of gratitude or respect.

  • One wishes to be praised by someone. Or conversely, one decides to give praise to someone. This is proof that one is seeing all interpersonal relationships as “vertical relationships.”

  • the feeling of inferiority is an awareness that arises within vertical relationships. If one can build horizontal relationships that are “equal but not the same” for all people, there will no longer be any room for inferiority complexes to emerge.

  • I’ve been manipulated by being praised by others.

Chapter 39: The Encouragement Approach

  • When one is not following through with one’s tasks, it is not because one is without ability. Adlerian psychology tells us that the issue here is not one of ability but simply that “one has lost the courage to face one’s tasks.” And if that is the case, the thing to do before anything else is to recover that lost courage.

  • The more one is praised by another person, the more one forms the belief that one has no ability.

  • Because giving praise is a judgment that is passed by a person of ability onto a person without ability.

Chapter 40: How to Feel You Have Value

  • In Adler’s view, “It is only when a person is able to feel that he has worth that he can possess courage.”

  • If one is able to feel one has worth, then one can accept oneself just as one is and have the courage to face one’s life tasks.

  • It is when one is able to feel “I am beneficial to the community” that one can have a true sense of one’s worth.

  • “I am of use to someone.” Instead of feeling judged by another person as “good,” being able to feel, by way of one’s own subjective viewpoint, that “I can make contributions to other people.” It is at that point that, at last, we can have a true sense of our own worth.

  • “I am of use to someone.” Instead of feeling judged by another person as “good,” being able to feel, by way of one’s own subjective viewpoint, that “I can make contributions to other people.”

Chapter 41: Exist in the Present

  • So instead of thinking of oneself on the level of acts, first of all one accepts oneself on the level of being.

  • Instead, the parents could refrain from comparing their child to anyone else, see him for who he actually is, and be glad and grateful for his being there.

Chapter 42: People Cannot Make Proper Use of Self

  • I am not telling you to make friends with everyone, or behave as if you are close friends. Rather, what is important is to be equal in consciousness, and to assert that which needs to be asserted.

  • Age does not matter in love and friendship.

Chapter 43: Excessive Self-Consciousness Stifles the Self

  • But I am not a self-loving narcissist. I am a self-loathing realist. I hate who I am, and that’s exactly why I look at myself all the time. I don’t have confidence in myself, and that’s why I am excessively self-conscious.

Chapter 44: Not Self-Affirmation—Self-Acceptance

  • Self-affirmation is making suggestions to oneself, such as “I can do it” or “I am strong,” even when something is simply beyond one’s ability. It is a notion that can bring about a superiority complex

  • With self-acceptance, on the other hand, if one cannot do something, one is simply accepting “one’s incapable self” as is and moving forward so that one can do whatever one can

  • say you’ve got a score of 60 percent, but you tell yourself, I just happened to get unlucky this time around, and the real me is 100 percent. That is self-affirmation. By contrast, if one accepts oneself as one is, as 60 percent, and thinks to oneself, How should I go about getting closer to 100 percent?—that is self-acceptance.

  • This is also the case with the separation of tasks—one ascertains the things one can change and the things one cannot change.

  • We do not lack ability. We just lack courage. It all comes down to courage.

Chapter 45: The Difference Between Trust and Confidence

  • It is doing without any set conditions whatsoever when believing in others. Even if one does not have sufficient objective grounds for trusting someone, one believes. One believes unconditionally without concerning oneself with such things as security. That is confidence.

  • Yes. As I have stated repeatedly, carrying out the separation of tasks returns life to an astonishingly simple form. But while the principle of the separation of tasks is easy to grasp, putting it into practice is difficult. I recognize that.

  • If you do not have the desire to make your relationship with that person better, then go ahead and sever it. Because carrying out the severing is your task.

  • If one can simply accept oneself as one is, and ascertain what one can do and what one cannot, one becomes able to understand that “taking advantage” is the other person’s task

  • We can believe. And we can doubt. But we are aspiring to see others as our comrades. To believe or to doubt—the choice should be clear.

Chapter 46: The Essence of Work Is a Contribution to the Common Good

  • one may say that people who think of others as enemies have not attained self-acceptance and do not have enough confidence in others.

  • Of course, community feeling is not something that is attainable with just self-acceptance and confidence in others. It is at this point that the third key concept—contribution to others—becomes necessary.

  • YOUTH: Contributing to others is for oneself? PHILOSOPHER: Yes. There is no need to sacrifice the self.

Chapter 47: Young People Walk Ahead of Adults

  • “to be self-reliant” and “the consciousness that I have the ability” correspond to our discussion of self-acceptance. And then “to live in harmony with society” and “the consciousness that people are my comrades” connect to confidence in others and then to contribution to others.

Chapter 48: Workaholism Is a Life-Lie

  • not everyone in the world is a good and virtuous person.

Chapter 49: You Can Be Happy Now

  • In a word, happiness is the feeling of contribution. That is the definition of happiness.

  • There is no freedom in a feeling of contribution that is gained through the desire for recognition. We are beings who choose freedom while aspiring to happiness.

  • If one really has a feeling of contribution, one will no longer have any need for recognition from others.

  • a person who is obsessed with the desire for recognition does not have any community feeling yet, and has not managed to engage in self-acceptance, confidence in others, or contribution to others.

  • There is no need for recognition from others.

  • People can be truly aware of their worth only when they are able to feel “I am of use to someone.” However, it doesn’t matter if the contribution one makes at such a time is without any visible form. It is enough to have the subjective sense of being of use to someone, that is to say, a feeling of contribution.

  • Happiness is the feeling of contribution.

Chapter 50: Two Paths Traveled by Those Wanting to Be “Special Beings”

  • “Revenge” and “pursuit of easy superiority” are easily linked. One makes trouble for another person while trying at the same time to be “special.”

Chapter 51: The Courage to Be Normal

  • Why is it necessary to be special? Probably because one cannot accept one’s normal self.

  • Being normal is not being incapable.

  • Maybe “normal” is the only choice I have. Maybe I will just have to accept my mediocre self and surrender to leading a mediocre, everyday existence. But I will fight it.

Chapter 52: Life Is a Series of Moments

  • People who think of life as being like climbing a mountain are treating their own existences as lines. As if there is a line that started the instant one came into this world, and that continues in all manner of curves of varying sizes until it arrives at the summit, and then at long last reaches its terminus, which is death.

  • If life were a line, then life planning would be possible.

Chapter 54: Shine a Light on the Here and Now

  • What happened in the past has nothing whatsoever to do with your here and now, and what the future may hold is not a matter to think about here and now. If you are living earnestly here and now, you will not be concerned with such things.

Chapter 55: The Greatest Life-Lie

  • You set objectives for the distant future, and think of now as your preparatory period. You think, I really want to do this, and I’ll do it when the time comes. This is a way of living that postpones life.

  • Not having objectives or the like is fine. Living earnestly here and now is itself a dance. One must not get too serious. Please do not confuse being earnest with being too serious.

  • When one has adopted an energeial viewpoint, life is always complete.

  • The greatest life-lie of all is to not live here and now. It is to look at the past and the future, cast a dim light on one’s entire life, and believe that one has been able to see something.

Chapter 56: Give Meaning to Seemingly Meaningless Life

  • What is the meaning of life? What are people living for? When someone posed these questions to Adler, this was his answer: “Life in general has no meaning.”

  • And Adler, having stated that “life in general has no meaning,” then continues, “Whatever meaning life has must be assigned to it by the individual.”

  • If I have the star of contribution to others high in the sky above me, I will always have happiness and comrades by my side.

  • if “I” change, the world will change. This means that the world can be changed only by me and no one else will change it for me.

  • I give you the words of Adler: “Someone has to start. Other people might not be cooperative, but that is not connected to you. My advice is this: You should start. With no regard to whether others are cooperative or not.”

  • “The world is simple, and life is too.”