In My Own Perfect World

thoughts from a tiny voice

Archive for the tag “Thought”

“In the Wrong” or “Give Them a Chance”

I’ve met two kinds of people today under similar circumstances that behaved in totally opposite ways. But before I get to that, let me preface this. I’ve been watching a lot of old films from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s and have noticed that people were not afraid to express themselves to each other. If something was irritating or if someone was in the way, it was made known. The way people responded, however, was what interested me most. They didn’t get irritated with each other. They simply reacted in understanding, recognizing that other people have feelings and are effected by their environment and those around them. They didn’t take things personally.

_47877030_smiling_london

So, I got to thinking about that and how I behave with others, particularly strangers. If someone gets in my way, I would generally get irritated and hold my anger in rather than say anything. If they cut me off in traffic, same thing. If someone acts in a way that isn’t considerate of others or, specifically, me, I would just alter my own plans to accommodate whilst harboring anger toward them for being rude, thus causing tension and anxiety within myself. Then it occurred to me that it was not only unhealthy for me, but it was not considerate of others. I wasn’t giving them the opportunity to recognize and act on their actions nor to improve their future behavior. By expressing myself like they did in the old movies, but improved with love and kindness, I could at the very least not cause anxiety in myself. So here’s how that worked out today.

I’m at the laundromat. I went in to get a cart to more easily haul my laundry from the car. On the way out, a man had parked right in front of the door, blocking the only ramp. I paused, looking for another easy path. He closed his truck’s door and said, “Are you going by?” I responded, “Well, I was planning on using the ramp.” I pointed to it. He said he’d help me get the cart down the step, lifted it and placed it on the driveway. I said, “Thank you very much, but I’ll be coming back with a heavy load.” He was irritated and said, “Well, I’ll be gone by then.” I said, “Okay, well, thank you again.” Moment later I returned with my heavy cart and he hadn’t moved yet. I didn’t even have time to formulate another plan before he rushed over and picked my cart up onto the sidewalk. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “I thought I’d be moved by now.” I thanked him profusely and told him how much I appreciated his help and how I understood his wanting to be close to the door. I wished him a good day and he smiled. It was then that I realized his earlier irritation wasn’t with me but with himself for his inconsideration. But my letting him know gave him the opportunity to make it right.

dancing137An hour later, I’m putting my items into dryers and have four dryers I’ve opened, three of which I’ve begun to fill. The fourth is above the one I’m currently working on. A man comes up and throws his towels in the one above my head. “Oh! I was just about to use that one,” I said. “Well,” he said, “I can’t read your mind. The dryer was empty and open so I took it.” And he continues to put his items inside. Now, I had given him the opportunity to behave with kindness, and he chose otherwise. Unfortunately for him, it would have been simpler to take dryers elsewhere because he wouldn’t have had to fight for working space with anyone. So, I removed my things from the lower dryer and moved them over to another and said to him, “Here. I’d be happy for you to take this dryer under yours so that you can keep all your clothes together.” The woman near me smiled in approval. The man angrily walked away then returned with more clothes and said, “So, which ones am I allowed to use?!” I bit my sarcastic tongue and said, “If you take those there we won’t be in each other’s way.” I smiled and left him alone, even as he criticized my every move after that and as I struck up a congenial conversation with the woman.

What I’ve learned is that it’s okay to be upset when something isn’t right or when I am not treated with respect.   Somehow in society we’ve taught ourselves that we shouldn’t get upset about things or, at the very least, that we shouldn’t show it.  We’ve got to hold it in.  But it’s human nature to have feelings.  If we temper them with thoughtful expression and don’t just fly off the handle, then I don’t see why it’s such a bad thing to express them.

These two guys today were probably not accustomed to anyone like me.  They weren’t accustomed to anyone pointing out their flaws, for one thing.  But it is certainly highly unlikely that they expected me to be thankful, kind, and generous in each prospective situation.  I’d like to think I’ve shown them another way to behave or made them more conscious of others, but I can’t be certain because I’ll likely never see them again.  What I am certain of is that I acted rightly and, in the process, saved myself a lot of undue stress and anxiety.  I gave these men an opportunity to act properly and did all I could do to improve these situations.  I’m satisfied with that.

So, in closing, it was an interesting study in human behavior today…including my own.

Love,
a tiny voice

couple-arguing-150211-300x300P.S.  As a side note, isn’t this what we do in relationships sometimes?  We don’t communicate things with one another — a partner’s habit we find annoying, the child’s toys repeatedly left out, or the loud music we play that disturbs other family members — because we are afraid of hurting them or damaging the relationship.  Imagine, however, if a line of communication about these things was formed — if a dialogue was established with truth and love so that an unspoken anger didn’t build  up between one another until nothing was left but resentment?  But that’s a topic for another day.

 

cropped-tumblr_m90jxpwtij1qzldazo1_500.jpg

 

 

Advertisements

How human are you?

Once again I’m writing something I’m certain few will read and even fewer will regard.  But I’m putting these thoughts out here anyway in the hope that they speak to someone’s heart.

So let me get straight to it.  How human are you?

I know what you’re thinking:  This is going to be really deep and philosophic, even.  But stick with me.  I’m going to touch on this for just a moment before I get to the real point of this writing.  When this is done, I’m hoping you’ll be able to answer that question above.

But let’s move on to a different question for now.  What does it mean to be human?  What really sets us apart from the other animals?  I posed this question to the all-knowing Internet and got a lot of the same thing.  The consensus is that, as humans, we are able to control our urges and instincts.  Other animals can’t do this.  (If you disagree, we can discuss that at a later time.  But go with me on this for right now.)  One person elaborated on this, saying, “Other animals react instinctively to certain stimuli.  They run from loud noises and bite when cornered.  They eat when they’re hungry, sleep when they’re tired, and mate when they feel like mating.  Humans behave differently because of our ability to think rationally.  We predict the outcomes of our actions several steps ahead (well, most of us do) and control ourselves accordingly.  We don’t jump every available mate who walks by (well, most of us don’t) and we eat and sleep for the most part when it’s socially acceptable and strategically advantageous to do so.”

If this is true, then we are certainly above the other animals where Darwin listed us and where God put us.  After all, we have complete control over our urges and instincts.  Our passions do not make us lose control over our rational thought. . .right?

Wrong!  Studies have shown that when sexual activity begins between two individuals, there is a chemical reaction that occurs in each body involved.  It blocks the person’s ability to rationalize and reason.  This is why people often feel remorse after cheating on a spouse or having a one-night stand.  There is a point prior to beginning the act when a person can rationalize, but it’s easy to ignore.  Our animal instincts are strong.

Further, do you recall in the movie, “A Christmas Story,” how Ralphie beat up on the bully?  Something switched off his rational thought and plunged him into an uncontrolled attack on his aggressor.  This happens with school children around the world.  As we get older, we begin to recognize when we might lose control and actively pursue one of two paths: attack or back down.  The latter is more “human,” while the former is certainly animalistic.

So I would say that we are only capable of being human.  We are constantly met with the choice to act human or to act like an animal.  Our regular decision the choose human behavior over our base, animal instincts is what truly makes us human.  Take a minute to soak that in.

Now I come to the meat of my blog.

There are a lot of terrible things that go on in this world.  Most of the time we don’t hear about them.  Much of the time we turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to the evils around us because the truth of them is, more often then not, too hard to bear.  Occasionally, however, we open our hearts and allow them to hurt because of what we see.  This is what happened to me.

I was perusing through my Facebook feed when my eye caught an article posted by a blog I frequent.  The writer was discussing something that took place recently in Argentina.  There was a video made to memorialize it.  He touched on the fact that the content of this video was not an anomaly but a regular occurrence in the world.  He said something poignantly intuitive:  “The reality is that the progressives are never satisfied. They are driven by irrational rage. . .if they are radical progressives their sweet, smiling reasonableness will be replace[d] with violent, stomach churning rage.”

This doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with progression – that we can’t fight to better our world and create better lives for ourselves or to change people’s minds about social stigmas and other things we feel are deeply important.  That’s not what the writer was inferring.  He was touching on the passion felt and acted upon by the progressives “protesting” in the video.  (Take a moment to remember and even review, if necessary, what I said earlier about passion.)

Why do you think the most effective protests are peaceful?  Why do you think Gandhi promoted the lie-down versus the blatant attack?  Why do you think Dr. Martin Luther King promoted peaceful demonstrations over aggressive behavior?  Do you think it was to protect the demonstrators?  That could have been part of it.  I believe it was because these men were humans – they were capable of controlling their urges and instincts.  They wanted to ensure that all involved remained human because nothing is as effective as rational behavior.  Look at the outcome of what they promoted!

Now look at this:

(Watching this video is imperative to understanding the rest of what I have to say, so please watch it now.)

Now, I don’t care how you feel about Catholics.  I don’t care how you feel about abortion.  I don’t care what your opinion is about women’s rights or homosexuality.  I don’t care.  None of that is the point here.  But I’ll tell you what I do care about. . .and I hope to God that you care about the same thing.  It’s something I’ve echoed in my other writings and it’s something I feel deeply about.  I care about how we treat each other.  How we feel about each other is moot.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is how we treat each other.  I cannot say that enough.

When I watched this video, I sobbed.  I sobbed because I am one of those rare individuals who is capable of deep empathy.  I saw the strength, the faith, and the hurt on those men’s faces and I was suddenly reminded of the martyrs of Christianity’s past and the horrible opposition they met to further their cause.  I sobbed because I saw the hate and the violent animal in those [mostly] women who were the aggressors.  I sobbed because, as they danced around the statue of the pope (a recognized symbol and proponent of love and charity in the world), they reminded me of baboons and gorillas after a kill had been made – they were nothing but animals!  I sobbed for their souls.  I wondered how many of them would feel remorse – how many of them were actually proud of what they’d done. . .and how many of them would do it again.  It scared the hell out of me and it hurt me deeply.  It reminds us all that we are literally moments away from that kind of behavior at all times.

It is not our passions or our cause that puts us a step above the apes.  Rather, it is our willingness to control those feelings and even to sacrifice them for the betterment of others.  Certainly some things are worth dying for, but they are never worth losing one’s humanity.

So I’ll ask you again, how human are you?

Image

Image

Image

How human are you?

All my love,
a tiny voice

cropped-tumblr_m90jxpwtij1qzldazo1_500.jpg

 

 

 

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: