It is a basic human craving to be accepted and loved by the tribe. The journey of finding our place in the universe and our lives being honored just the way we are is lifelong. And yet even the most open minded humans still lash out and pin our expectations upon other people, asking them to change their belief or behavior because it does not suit us. Why do we demand that other people change?
A few days ago while browsing social media I came across a post which elicited a strong reaction from me. This post was about 500 words worth of straight up blame, name calling, accusatory ranting. The post covered every topic, from the injustice of government assistance “continually helping people who have more kids than they can afford” to the rage felt at a recently deceased family member who left them no material possessions, to the unfairness of having a broken window in the apartment, to running out of cigs in the winter. What an array of scandalous resentment.
Many thoughts came to mind as I read this. Parts of me felt sorry this person had such a sad outlook, part of me felt that some adults should have their social media privileges revoked. Clearly I had some judgement surrounding this behavior and that is not the type of mindspace I seek to cultivate. I perceived this behavior as victim types thinking, as though life is something that just happens around them and nothing is within their control. But the problem is not what other people are saying or doing, the problem is my reaction to it. So I began to try and shift the nature of my questions. Rather than asking “Why does this attention seeking trite bother me?” I asked myself “What could I do to make this better?” So often in our daily routine we get into a mindset that once other peoples behavior changes then we will be happy and that simply is not true. When your partner behaves exactly the way you want, and your boss stops putting the pressure on you and when there are no more people posting silly things on the internet, you will not suddenly become happy. You will be exactly who you are right now. If we do not learn to chill the response to blame other people we will always find someone to hang the blame on.
As we examine our judgement we see all kinds of things within the self. These things say quite a bit about us, and truly have nothing to do with the people we attach our judgement to. In my case I got on my high horse and believed I knew what was “best” for an individual. The reality of the situation is if you are feeling boxed in and frustrated by other peoples behaviors it is simply a reflection of our discomfort and dissatisfaction toward the relationship with them. It is a result of being incompatible. Rather than pushing others to obey a vague social contract you have in your mind or being resentful, what if you spent your time finding people with whom you fit? I challenge you to find the things inside you that are of paramount importance, those values which are non negotiable, and then venture out to find people who also value similar ideas. And what about the folks you feel like a stranger with, or find yourself angry or resentful toward? Drop it like it’s hot. Move forward.
It is vitally important to ask yourself the hard hitting questions.(You will know when you have touched upon those questions when they begin to make you bit uncomfortable.) And if you find you let yourself off of the proverbial hook, it is worth it to hire a professional to assist. The people we surround ourselves with are a reflection of us. Does your social group reflect the kind of person you are striving to be? What sort of person do you want to be in a year? In five? What are you doing today to become that person? No, really i am curious. I want you to roll that around in your head. What did you do TODAY that is moving you toward your goals? If you answer is “Nothing” then right after you finish this article I challenge you to go out and put energy toward your goals. Not by thinking about them, not by complaining that you are not there yet, but real action. Go write, go paint, go study, go build. Whatever it is you need to do, stop putting it off. Stop writing sad posts on facebook, stop blaming. Go now. Run fast.