by Jackie Woods
I don’t how it was for you growing up, but in my little corner of the world, people frequently found someone “lower” than they were so they could feel important. Of course no one was “lower.” It was just that by generating that thought and feeling about someone else, it made their thoughts and feelings about themselves seem “higher.”
It is still hard for me to understand how creating scapegoats can make a person feel better. But I have observed it for many years. And I must confess that in moments when I start to inwardly beat up on myself, my thoughts look for a scapegoat. For example, on a day that I am too lazy to work out my mind might think of someone my age who is in less good physical shape. Yes, you are right that is dumb. But all mental scapegoats are dumb.
However, creating mental scapegoats is easy. You just have to do a comparison. It can be done on a societal scale or an individual scale. It can be done as a bottom line in your life. Or it can be an in-the-moment comparison.
The Baptist kids in my high school class made fun of the Pentecostal kids. The Hispanic workers that came to work the vineyards were seen as much lower than the residents of our little town. These were the societal scapegoats.
But individual ones existed as well. I come from a musical family, so we had a piano. For some reason that one piece of furniture elevated me and made a friend feel lower than me in her eyes. After she came to my house and discovered we had a piano, she stopped being my friend. Go figure. Obviously, she had felt her home was inadequate, causing her to feel a need for me to be her scapegoat.
Working in my Dad’s country store opened my eyes to the huge amount of scapegoating that went on in the town. One of my favorite customers was a sweet little lady who couldn’t speak plainly. I became furious one day when another customer came to whisper how pitiful that woman was. She was not pitiful because she spoke differently than the whispering woman. In fact, she was wonderful.
Hopefully, this writing will make you aware of the scapegoats that you let sneak into your thoughts and feelings. They are nasty little things that take up room where beautiful thoughts and feelings could exist.