"A major pollutant of the Virus-infected person's inner life is their self-consciousness, triggered by excessive concern about what others think of them. By definition, they are preoccupied with recognition and status, conferred upon them by others. Their fragile self esteem needs constant bolstering from outside, so they tend to agree with statements such as 'I'm self-conscious about the way I look' and ' I usually worry about making a good impression'. It's hard to go with the flow if you are focusing on your faults or inadequacies, fearful of feeling foolish for something you have said or done, excessively alert to the danger of seeming incompetent to others. People with such high levels of self-consciousness are at greater risk of depression, neurosis and narcissism."What is interesting is that Oliver James suggests that people who adhere to faith seem less prone and show a world view that is less susceptible.
I'm not too sure.
A bigger and better mentality certainly has not skipped church culture. Church is definitely not immune to preoccupation with power and influence; definitely not invulnerable to self absorption with reputation and self promotion. Certainly the selfish capitalism that James outlines is excessive - but the characteristics he outlines are there to be applied and compared within a church context albeit a different currency.
Oliver James offers several 'vaccines', I've listed a few
- Your Best is good enough
- It is not your fault that you are who you are
- At the same time, you must accept that the particular situation you are in is chosen by you and that you are a free agent
- Form as truthful and accurate an assessment as possible of yourself... rather than living in a rose-tinted bubble of positive illusions
- Don't be scared of examining your failures as much as your successes
- Don't take responsibility for what is not your fault or for others' achievements
- Avoid simplification, embrace complexity and tolerate contradictions
- Audit your motives and goals