take your pills

12 rules for life by Jordan Peterson – Exploring rule 2


Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

Where does our shame come from

In 12 rules for life chapter 2 examines how humanity’s shame might be linked to the original sin. I am not a Christian but it was interesting to see the connection made between the original sin and the shame we have now. The original sin being Eve eating a fruit from the tree of knowledge that was forbidden by God. She was tempted by Satan to eat the fruit. According to Genesis, Eve convinced Adam to try it as well. After that, they were put in front of God naked. Nakedness symbolizes the shame there was as people are usually vulnerable and ashamed when they are naked. Adam and Eve both felt shame after this incident. God said to Eve you will now bring forth children in sorrow.

Now the Muslim version of the story is a bit different and Adam and Eve both are responsible for eating the forbidden fruit. There is also no mention of Eve’s children being bought forth in sorrow. There is mention of Adam and Eve being ashamed and wanting forgiveness.

According to Jordan Peterson, we carry the shame from the Original Sin, and because we are Adam’s descendants we feel shame. We know our most inner thoughts and flaws and shame derives from that. We know the worst of ourselves.

People don’t take care of themselves

In 12 rules for life chapter 2, Jordan Peterson talks about people not taking care of themselves. People who are on dialysis find it hard to get a kidney. But when they do end up finding a kidney that their body doesn’t reject they don’t always take their pills which are vital to keep the kidney working. They’re risking their kidney being rejected just because they don’t take their pills on time.

You would think someone who has put in so much effort to get the kidney would make sure they have their pills on time but that is not what always happens.

According to Jordan Peterson, this is because humans think they are not good enough. They feel shame and think they don’t deserve the pills so they don’t take care of themselves.

People find it easier to take care of a dog or someone they are responsible for

He says if they had to give the pill to their dog they wouldn’t miss a day because they value the innocent, harmless and unselfconscious dog.

How to decrease shame and take your pills

He believes if you find a purpose that will decrease your shame level. You can do this by building your way to reaching heaven and immortality. If you do this then you will feel worthy and take care of yourselves.

Spirituality or religion can help

Jordan Peterson isn’t the only one when talking about shame to bring up religion. Brene Brown also mentions how spirituality helps her.

In my own opinion, I think believing in something greater than you (God or the Universe) does make you feel good enough and connected. It gives you hope that you deserve this life and should make the most of it.

In my opinion, being self-compassionate to yourself also makes you feel good enough. Talking to yourself the way you talk to your best friend or a loved one can decrease the shame you feel.

I can’t confirm what research is behind the pill story but I do believe that a lot of us this think we aren’t good enough and I am one of them.


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