Psychological Self-Help

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various feelings of superiority are being challenged. For instance,
feelings of sexual and racial superiority--chauvinism--have been hot
issues for many years (Korda, 1975; Faludi, 1991). But I believe that
superiority-inferiority feelings permeate our society, even in many
ways we do not commonly acknowledge. Examples: Developed nations
feel superior to less developed ones and take pride in beating other
countries. Older persons and parents feel superior to youth. Youth feel
superior (more "with it") to older persons. Owners and bosses feel
superior to workers. The wealthy (even if it was inherited) feel
superior to the poor. The smart and/or educated feel superior to the
less well trained. Urban dwellers feel superior to persons who live on
farms or ranches. The religious feel superior to other religions and
non-believers. Women often feel superior to men in terms of morals.
Maybe we all strive for some sense of superiority, as Adler suggested.
Perhaps this is because we all feel inferior in some ways. Maybe we
just grab on to a feeling of superiority whenever we can because it
feels good. But, this self-centered I'm-better-than-you attitude causes
many interpersonal and societal problems. The good news is: people
can and do change their attitudes.
Every person I meet is in some way my superior; and in that I can learn from him/her.
Early developmental differences between boys and girls
Gender prejudice and discrimination results, I assume, from boys
and men feeling they are superior to girls and women. Where could
such an idea come from? We don't know but some interesting things
are known. For instance, before we are 3 years old, there are
fascinating differences between how boys and girls interact (DeAngelis,
1989). Boys attempt to dominate, to control, to find out "Am I better
than you?" They do this by little contests ("I can build my blocks
higher than you") or by being aggressive, if necessary. They establish
their status and then continue to try to use power to improve their
position in the "pecking order." In contrast, girls and women try to
establish and improve their relationships, as if they were always
asking "Do you like me?" Because boys and girls want to do different
things, boys and girls start avoiding each other at 3 or 4. By age 6,
girls so dislike the rough competitive play and domination by boys that
they choose girls over boys as playmates 10 to 1. Little boys don't like
"girl's games" either (no chance to "prove themselves" or afraid of
being a "sissy?"). Indeed, if asked, boys will express horror at the idea
of suddenly becoming girls; girls aren't horrified of becoming a boy,
they quickly recognize the advantages of being a boy. Boys constantly
want to win at active, competitive activities and seem less interested
in "winning friends." Several studies have also found that older boys
will comply with a male peer's suggestion but will stubbornly not
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