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Some of us have decided that no one in the world likes us. Such a conclusion is absurdly extreme, of course, because you’ll never see the day that seven billion human beings all agree about anything. But it is surprisingly easy to develop what we call the worm mentality—a mentality in which we insist that we are the scum of the earth and that no one else can like us. Maybe we started off getting bullied by a few people, or we were rejected by our guardians as kids. Whatever the initial cause was for us to decide that we are subhuman lifeforms, we get so comfortable with this idea that it becomes a critical part of our identity and we actually begin to fight against any evidence that we’re not as bad as we say we are. When someone smiles at us, we ignore it. When someone glares at us, we memorialize the moment and hold it up as evidence that we are hated by the entire human race. We begin aggressively looking for proof that others hate us, and of course such proof is easy to find because we invent it all in our minds. If someone doesn’t answer us when we speak to them, we immediately decide it’s because they inwardly loathe us instead of leaving room for the possibility that they simply didn’t hear us. If someone seems rude to us, we decide it’s because they are trying to hurt our feelings instead of considering the possibility that they’re probably just having a bad day.
Even though humans are self-absorbed creatures, there are many mentalities which insist that the whole universe is focused on us. The paranoid mentality says that everyone is focused on me, when in reality everyone is focused on themselves and barely noticing me. The worm mentality says that everyone is hating me, when the reality is that everyone is too absorbed in their own problems to give me much thought. Anytime you find yourself out in public thinking that everyone is thinking about you, that’s a solid indicator that you’re caught up in some very egotistical delusions. Humans are self-focused creatures. Other people spend far more time thinking about themselves than they do about you. It is only our raging pride that wants to believe this isn’t true. It is our pride that demands we must be the focal point of the universe, and we’re so invested in holding that position that we’ll settle for a negative version of it. The belief that everyone hates us has great appeal in that it means that everyone must be focused on us, and that is what we really want.
Now once we get entrenched in the worm mentality, the next step down the road of arrogance is to believe we’re not just common worms, we’re super vile things. So vile that even God Almighty can’t bear to be in our company. And while we moan over our wretchedness, we’re really attempting to exalt ourselves as having succeeded in overwhelming the God who can do all things. He might be able to do all things, but He can’t possibly manage loving us, because no one can pull off that amazing feat. We’re just too incredibly yuck. We are walking sewage. We are utter slime. The longer we cultivate the worm mentality, the more addictive it becomes. We think we want friends, but we really don’t, which is why we are intentionally behaving in ways that will repulse most people. If you show up in a public place exuding hostility, people will pick up on the nasty vibe you’re emanating and instinctively put space between you and them. You then observe their behavior and say, “See? Everyone hates me.” Well, no, everyone doesn’t hate you, but you’re intentionally making them uncomfortable with your brooding, antisocial behavior.
Human beings project spiritual and emotional auras outward from their physical bodies. When you walk in on two people who are in the middle of an intense argument, you can sense hostility in the air without anyone having to say anything. When a family member comes home very upset, you can often sense that something is wrong before they even explain themselves. Now and then we run into a stranger who immediately gives us the creeps and we don’t even know why, we just know that we want to get away from him.
What’s going on in your mind has a strong impact on the kind of aura you are projecting. Your thought life also has a strong impact on your behavior—so much so that there are whole fields of study built around deciphering subtle mannerisms that people automatically engage in when they are thinking certain kinds of thoughts. A standard lie detector or polygraph measures things like blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and skin conductivity. But it’s also possible to analyze someone’s facial expressions to determine whether they are lying or not. Our thought processes affect the way we behave and the vibes we emit. Other people pick up on the signals we’re broadcasting and respond accordingly. When you go around thinking negative thoughts about how much everyone hates you, you are going to start broadcasting some very negative signals which will repel others away from you. You then refuse to take any responsibility for your actions and insist that the whole world has aligned against you because you are just that vile. Well, no, you’re making it far more personal than it is. Were you to stop broadcasting such hostile signals, other people would stop feeling so uncomfortable around you and you’d have a chance to get somewhere in a conversation. But once you blast people with negativity, they remember the experience and it takes them a while to try again with you. The point is that the worm mentality is a self-fulfilling prophecy. First you decide that the whole world hates you, then you change your behavior to ensure that people will find you repulsive so that your theory will appear to be proven correct. But you haven’t really proven anything, because the same people who you say have such a deep rooted hatred of you would change their minds tomorrow if you’d stop acting so hostile and hateful.
Human beings aren’t going to work hard until they can see some clear reward in sight. In relationships, they tend to take the path of least resistance. This means that if there are two strangers in a room, and one of them is emitting hostile vibes while the other is acting friendly and welcoming, most people will gravitate towards the friendly person. Until we get entrenched in mindsets like the worm mentality, we don’t seek out rejection. We try to minimize risk and optimize success. Take an honest look at your own behavior in public and ask: “Am I easy to approach? Am I thinking negatively about the people around me?” People can’t read your thoughts, but they can pick up on the emotional signals your thoughts are broadcasting. Negative, brooding thoughts make for negative, hostile vibes. Why should anyone try to approach you if you’re constantly signaling them that you dislike them? You can’t be hating other people in your heart and expect that your nasty attitude isn’t going to affect your relationships. Just as the jealous husband drains all the joy from his marriage by looking for signs of betrayal in everything his wife does, you kill all chances of ever forming positive relationships with others when you go around looking for evidence of personal rejection in everything they do.
The worm mentality is a highly addictive mentality because it is driven by a very ego-pleasing assumption that we are supreme at something—in this case, supreme at being hideous. All humans want to think they are good at something. In the worm mentality, we claim to excel in being heinous. Of course having humans reject us is just stage one. The ultimate victory is to believe that we have succeeded in overwhelming God Himself. For the unsaved soul, the ultimate accomplishment is to believe that God has eternally rejected us because even with all of His God powers, He simply can’t bear to be in our ultra-evil presence. For the Christian, the ultimate victory is to believe that we have succeeded in getting God to turn away from us—even to revoke our salvation. Again, the logic stream is that we’re so awesome at being hideous that even God finds Himself hopelessly trumped.
Now in real life, God is never threatened by His own creations, nor is He impressed by our delusions of grandeur. When God does not shut down on us and give us that ultimate form of rejection which our egos are craving, we often try to help Him along by rejecting Him first. We like to go about this in a grand, boastful way, saying things like, “I know that God finds me unbearable, so I’m going to ask Him to please throw me into Hell. After all, I wouldn’t want to corrupt His perfect Heaven with my vile self.” Notice how such thinking exalts you as the ultimate giver—the one who is voluntarily sacrificing yourself in order to protect God from further distress. This is nothing more than ego run amuck. God doesn’t need your protection, and what you’re trying to protect Him from is a threat which only exists in your own mind. You have decided that because you are so supremely vile, even your own Creator feels personally threatened by you. You tell yourself that you actually possess the power to obstruct God’s plans, wreck His Heaven, or halt His universe. My, what a powerful little thing you are. And if you weren’t so altruistic in nature—so willing to crucify yourself in order to save us all from your toxic presence, well, we’d all be lost. Once you set yourself up in this kind of ultimate savior role, you are naturally going to be opposed to truth, because truth is going to be a major pride buster and your pride is out of control.
The worm mentality is a self-destructive mentality in which you are the only one who suffers. By the time you’re done cutting yourself off from other people and from God, you end up alone, bitter, and empty. You see, the truth is that you have deep core needs which only God can satisfy. The whole notion that you can ever cut ties with Him is as absurd as claiming you can get through a day without breathing. You really don’t get to call how the universe runs because you are not in control. You will never be in control, and God will never be impressed with your vileness. To God, you’re not worse than anyone else, you’re just caught up in a superiority complex that is driven by an intense fear of being average and forgettable. Well, God offers you something better than being ultra-vile. He says that you are very special to Him and that you matter to Him. He doesn’t say you’re ultimate—He says that He is ultimate, and you are an insignificant speck by comparison. But you’re His speck, and He made you for the purpose of forming a positive, personal relationship with you. In order for that relationship to get off the ground, you’re going to need to stop trying to dominate Him and you’re going to have to open yourself up to accepting a different value system. Right now you’re defining your worth by how hideous you are. It’s your great vileness that makes you have value in your eyes. When we fear that we don’t have a chance at competing in positive areas, we turn to negative ones. At bottom, we just want to excel at something. Well, God makes succeeding with Him very easy because He isn’t comparing you to other people. You don’t have to be super scum or super good to hold onto His love. He loves you because He wants to—it has nothing to do with you impressing Him. God says that if you will submit to His Authority in your life and ask Him to make you all that He wants you to be, He will break you out of this self-destructive path you’re on and teach you a much better way to live. But first you have to decide that you want to be healed, because it’s not God’s usual style to force cures on people. He gives us the option of wallowing in egotistical delusions and deciding that we are having a far greater impact on Him than we really are. How anticlimactic would it be to live your life thinking you’re ultra evil, only to get to Heaven and have God say, “Why didn’t you ever listen to Me on earth? We could be a lot closer than we are right now.” God doesn’t find you threatening in the slightest. He sees you more like a little child who is refusing to pay attention in school, therefore you’re not learning the basics of reading and writing. Certainly immaturity has its appeal, because growing up requires a lot of work and some pride grinding adjustments. But choosing to grow up is the far more rewarding choice in the long run, and the only one that will truly satisfy your soul.
At some point, you’re going to grow tired of defining yourself as ultra-evil. While you tell yourself that God finds you too repulsive to be around, the truth is that God is with you all the time, urging you to stop playing these games and ask Him to help you get over yourself. God wants you to experience His best for you. The worm mentality isn’t it. Ask Him to break you out of this trap and He will.
Leaving the Worm Mentality: Responding to the Love of God