Author’s note: This is the second article written in the form of a letter, intended to speak to the inhabitants of the planet 100 years from now, and empower the hearts of those alive today.
EDITOR’S NOTE: SEE PRIOR LETTER BELOW ⤵︎
I suppose You have been hearing a lot about us lately; those of us who inhabited Your planet exactly a century ago. You may have heard a lot about COVID-19 and the havoc it created. How countries and economies all but shut down trying to figure out ways to keep it under control.
Or perhaps, You’ve barely heard a whisper about the agony many are currently experiencing. It’s quite possible technology advanced at such an exponential rate that it virtually eliminated the possibility of a virus or microorganism crippling our world again.
Were You also aware of another global pandemic that occurred a century prior to writing this letter, and a similar chaos, death, and destruction it inflicted? It was called the Spanish Flu. I was in high school less than 50 years after that catastrophe and admittedly, I don’t remember hearing much about it in history class or the devastation and despair it left on the troubled hearts and confused minds of many. Nonetheless, my own experience has taught me the depth of those feelings better than any textbook ever could.
There is, however, another fallout from our current crisis even more insidious than the virus itself and that is one of the reasons why I am writing this letter to You, 2120.
If the isolation, sickness, and death weren’t enough, it is only being compounded by the way we humans lash out against anyone with the slightest difference. It’s as though people are purposely polarizing and denouncing anyone who doesn’t fit into their way of thinking. The traditional divides in politics, race, and religion, are just the tip of the iceberg, and there appears to be no willingness to reconcile or resolve any differences. It’s all cut and dry: you are either with me or against me. If we wish to survive as a collective species, we cannot continue in this direction.
Which brings up the other reason why I am writing to You, 2120. I know in my heart I am on this planet to guide people on their journeys of emotional healing and help change the way we think about and understand shame.
Eight years ago, I was guided by my own therapist and had an opportunity to witness the devastating effects shame held over me. I had no clue how sinister it was and continued lurking in the shadows without realizing it was controlling most of my life choices. Thankfully, that all changed, and after my therapist inspired me to write a book, my path became clear to where it is today.
You see, 2120, it is my contention everyone suffers from shame. Although some aren’t as negatively impacted as others, many of us recall incidents from our past which left us feeling shameful. The perception that something is wrong with who we are is the most common denominator in our lack of confidence and self-esteem.
It began thousands of years ago when our early ancestors learned what a powerful tool shame can be. They recognized by making people feel terrible about themselves, they could control and enslave others while giving themselves a great feeling of power. Shame had no boundaries. It infiltrated nearly every community and culture on earth.
Its influence spread quickly and didn’t take long to create different societal castes and social statuses which in many countries, continue to this day. It is this kind of shame manipulation which is akin to the mindset plaguing today’s society, and is precisely what I aim to help You overcome.
My goals are for You and Your people to understand clearly the difference between guilt and shame. That making a bad choice is not the same as believing we are innately damaged and unchangeable. I also want You to know that arrogance likewise is based in shame. The idea people must portray themselves better than who we are because we don’t want others to know how poorly we think of ourselves. And finally, become aware that shame only comes to fruition when we accept the lies others wanted us to believe.
When we put our love and trust into someone, it is only natural to want to believe them and the lies they tell us. It is nearly embedded in our nature to accept them. Fortunately 2120, the remedy is as simple as not believing those lies and changing the way we think about ourselves. And the optimal way to begin that journey is by forgiving ourselves for believing those lies in the first place.
I may be naïve to consider changing the world could be that simple, but I have never been given any sound argument to quit. I am compelled 2120, but not by fortune or fame. In fact, I do not care if You or Your contemporaries have any inkling of who I am. I would be willing to give up all my money if it were to ensure Your world could see shame similarly to the way I do. I would gladly give away everything I own if it would guarantee people in Your day understood emotional healing was possible and achievable.
Undeniably the current turbulent and volatile climate has given me pause to reconsider, but I would see no point to continue living without this goal. It is my passion 2120. It gives me purpose, intention, and a zest for life. I’m hoping to live to be 100 and never stop. And who knows? It may be probable in this world of rapidly-changing technology, I may be afforded the opportunity to hand-deliver this letter to You personally.
In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging along but please promise me one thing. You will look back at 2020 and realize the important lessons we have yet to learn. That our divisive society guides you to a kind and compassionate one. And love for all humankind becomes Your common goal.
Beautifully written John Dunia!
Your statement right here is spot on TRUTH:
“The perception that something is wrong with who we are is the most common denominator in our lack of confidence and self-esteem.”
It is up to us to allow or refuse our circumstances to define our worth. I do hope the future is listening. #letterofintent
Thanks for this John, much of it resonates with me. For years I was ashamed of myself, having grown up in a religious setting that used (and uses) shame as a control mechanism, even claiming that as infants we’re broken with our ‘original sin’. That institution further damaged my sense of self, and added to my shame when one of its authority figures abused me when I was fourteen years old. I’ve put it behind me, and the institution as well, and doing so has empowered me. So for those reading your letter in 2120, here’s hoping they’ve seen through the corrosive messages and dehumanizing abuse that religion delivers, and that they have whole, rich, shame-free lives.
Thank you for your comments, Byron. We would enjoy a conversation. Most of my shame likewise came from religious abuse. Thankfully, there was sexual or extreme physical abuse, but the idea that no one is good really messed with my confidence. I’m thrilled to hear you have/are healing from it.
Thank you for sharing this important piece, John. I hope that 2120 is paying attention. Until then, I’m also hopeful that more of us can see how imperative emotional healing is for us as individuals and as a society.
I am always grateful for your comments, Melissa. I hope you know how highly I respect and admire your work.