People let you down. Teams, bosses and employees let you down. Friends make promises they don’t keep. Family members have insane expectations. Colleagues take advantage of you and your work. Leaders pretend to be people they aren’t. Managers abuse their power. Religious people prove to be hypocrites. Atheists and politicians too. Armchair warriors who can’t help but to give out a cyber punch/ jab/ pinch. Like an abuser, justify it with “They deserved it.” The people with those handicapped tags that aren’t really disabled and who cut you off in a parking lot so they can swoop quickly into that front row parking space before you pass it. I’ve been cut off in parking lots by more people with temporary handicap tags lately than ever. Wtf?
People who pretend to be experts at something they are not. Receivers with no sense of gratitude or conscience. And the guilty who take their guilt out on others when they fail.
And it generally boils down to a selfishness at heart. A general disregard for a fellow human being. The one right next to you, not the stranger from another culture you’re trying to impress.
It’s kind of like how family all too often treat each other worse than they would a stranger. Biting the hands that feed and nurture them. Devolving into a vicious cycle of dysfunctional relationship and communication to rule the rest. And now days, a couple of conversations online makes you familiar enough to take a punch, familiar enough to receive judgement and be devoid of rights to safety. Familiar enough to be disliked or hated, never having met face to face. And based solely on a paragraph or two. I feel like a bit of my soul bruises every time I hear someone talk about how they hate someone else.
Have people disappointed me lately? You bet. People with enough life and professional experience to know better. People who’ve received enough kindness too. People who should know the value of a team, of a cause, of a single person or an act of selflessness. How a betrayal of trust ruins it for all. And how gratitude always wins.
Has it been everyone? No. Not by a long shot. But enough repeats to get to me. I know better than most how tough life can be, so as patient and laid back as I can be, it takes a while to build up. I wrote the emotionally charged title on purpose. Because I know it speaks to the feelings of a lot of people lately.
This Thanksgiving, of all times, let’s think about this. And not just football. Take accounting, of ourselves, of the relationships we allow in our lives, of the examples we allow our children to see. Recognize reality for what it is. Take responsibility for ourselves, because others are not as invested. Demonstrate patience and tenderness with others, because we know what pain is. And savor the gems in our lives, rarer today than ever.
3 responses to “Life Has Taught Me That All Too Often You’re Better Off On Your Own”
I agree with you, Julia, that we humans are basically a selfish lot. That, to me, is the original sin and why we need saving from ourselves. But in addition to all the selfishness, I’ve been the recipient of a lot of kindness. The silver lining to having had cancer accompanied by major surgery was the huge amount of love I received from family and friends. If we would all try to pay that forward, what a better world it would be.
You point out some good things Amy. I received a lot of love during a time of great illness too. I haven’t forgotten it. I think to me the lesson that was formulating in my mind is about, are we really what we say we are? I’m all for a world that is less uptight and less judgmental about what is righteous and what is not. After all it used to be that a good woman “knew her place,” etc.. But I’m not for breaking promises and being rude, just because no one in this country will force you to do otherwise. It’s not how I envision the evolution of society for my grandchildren. And as I parent my children and try to teach them how to behave in polite society, every day examples seem to vie for attention instead. It hurts families, it hurts business and it hurts the cohesiveness of a society. Perhaps a few hundred years ago people behaved because they were afraid not to. We don’t have that today. It would be nice if people behaved because they have the pride and want to.
I agree, although I’m not sure I’d say we’re less judgmental. We just judge by different standards than we used to. Unfortunately, along with becoming a less formal society, we’ve jettisoned courtesy and manners. The deacon at my church told a story in her sermon today. She was looking for a parking place downtown. There were two angled spots next to each other. A woman in a suburban pulled in across the middle of the two spots so she took them both. Our deacon asked her nicely if she would mind moving her car over so they both could have a spot. The other woman called her, as she put it, a 5 letter word. Pathetic. But all too common. Kudos to you for trying to teach your kids how to behave in what has become a much less polite society.