Snippet 1: A story about a Lama or Rinpoche who was asked about the common American problem of self-hatred. [Pause for discussion between the translator and the Tibetan.] Finally, the translator says, "How do you do that?"
Snippet 2: Hearing that there was shift in Europe sometime in the middle ages between people confessing to sinful actions and sinful thoughts-- I think there were records of penances. Getting actions right is at least somewhat more possible than having a perfect state of mind.
It seems plausible to me that there are cultural influences which can at least amplify the risk of self-hatred, and that those influences are not of equal force in all times and places. Religions which put a lot of emphasis on the state of one's soul, narrow definitions of psychological health, and high demands for success and/or ideal appearance are all plausible candidates. So is viewing aging as a defect rather than a reason for being respected. See also demands for perfect motives. And don't forget the possibility of simply viewing oneself as not good enough because of being part of an outgroup.
This is a list off the top of my head of deleterious mainstream American influences. It wouldn't surprise me if there are bad influences in other cultures that I don't know about.
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