The Art Of Taking Jerks With A Grain Of Salt
Why are people are rude, mean and just plain old evil? There are a variety of reasons and the truth is you will never know the right one. This post is dedicated to giving you a couple common ones so at least it will be a bit easier to not take to heart if someone is a major jerk to you. And no, I don’t think there’s any valid excuse, nor do I support the idea of letting jerks be rude to you and you do nothing about it. I think when you are upset or wronged; you have a right to your reaction no matter what that is (hurting another human aside). That said you can better shrug off the hurt when you know it has nothing to do with you. *Major disclaimer: this is not universal and only addresses the regular everyday brand jerkiness, not the true psychopaths that can injure you severely. So take it with a grain of salt.
Misery. Firstly, jerks are often deep down very unhappy people. Many times they have been put through some stuff that has made them care little about themselves; it’s like living in a survival mode of sorts. Look at it this way: when you feel like crap, you don’t care about how you look. The same goes for when your life and soul are suffering; you don’t care about hurting others when you’re already hurting so much. It’s just par for the course. I am sick with the flu so I act sick with the flu. This equation translates across all sorts of other problems that have affected your life path: I was taught that my body is the most interesting thing about me, so my body is the most interesting thing about me. Etc. When someone hurts, especially when they really hurt, you’re not going to change that for the moment that you are kind to them. You’re almost an invisible part of the terrible world around them. Know that there are a lot of people that hurt out there. You’re not a factor in their pain, just another pebble on the road. Don’t take it personally, and know that you can’t fix it. That kind of pain is deep and needs to be gutted from the core-out by that person alone. You can’t help someone want to do that either. They have to want it for themselves: to give themselves a happier life.
Sickness. Sickness is a biggie. When people are addicts, of many shapes and kinds, the basic situation is a substance or obsession has replaced the soul and purpose of life for a person. This can take the form of a body image problem related to self-esteem, or it can take the form of literal addiction to a drug. Regardless of the shiny object, what happens is a person loses complete awareness of anything other than this one thing that defines the very worth of their life. You might become a part of that. Addiction reduces people to hyenas. There is nothing more to live for than food. Or in this case, their drug of choice; their god. Hard to understand when it’s not you, but it redefines everything of importance in relationship to survival aka this one thing. Don’t lie in the path to be trampled further. Get out of the way and know that it has nothing to do with you.
Shaky foundations. This one’s a toughy because in a weird way we all have semi-out of wack foundations: no one is totally perfect, and if they are, well who wants to hang out with them? Boooring. JK. Not really. But seriously, we’ve all got some ish from childhood, ‘cause we’re raised by humans. It’s just certain times that ish is super unstable to build a normal world-view upon and when we do build up we end up a bit crooked, sideways or distorted as our adult self. The main thing to be aware of when it comes to people with old issues that cause them to act like jerks, is that their foundation has caused them to define certain things in certain ways that are different than ours. Meaning that when you think of something you define it as a specific thing in your mind because of what your childhood taught you that thing means. For example: if you were given less attention by your parent than your sibling, in your adult life this unfairness will be factored into how you view every situation. Because that is your truth: I’m not getting what I deserve, or I’m getting shorted. It’s a perspective that comes from a self-protective instinct, and you just happened to be in the line of fire. Don’t take it personally – you are not the cause, and it doesn’t say anything about you.
Culture. Sometimes people we think are jerks are simply culturally opposite us. They grew up in a family where everyone shares everything, including the food in the fridge. Or they’re used to speaking their mind, because that is much healthier to them and a true form of respect. Or they are used to being polite and not speaking their mind, and that is a form of respect. There can be an amazingly vast divide between what you consider normal vs. what another considers normal. Again, not related to you, related to speaking totally different languages.
In summary…In the face of jerks, the most important thing to remember is that people mean well. They are not jerks for the sake of being jerks. Who wants to feel crappy and mean and be pissed off? No one. Just like no one would want another person to feel that way if they’re in a sound state of mind. (*The exception to this is that some people lack the ability to feel empathy, and therefor they do not have a conscience. That is called a psychopath or a sociopath, and they’re the jerks to get the heck away from.) But other than that, people do not mean you harm, they are just flawed, and flawed in ways you cannot and will not know most of the time. The most important thing for you to have, is confidence in your soul. Trust in the knowledge of yourself, that you are good, that you are kind and mean well, and from there you will be able to regain the trust that others are good too. It can be tough to think that way after someone has done something super mean, but if you hold tight to the good core within yourself, you will see the truth in it. People are not evil. People are good. They try, they want to do well. They just sometimes get lost along the way, hurt, slowed down, clouded, their muscle grows over a scar that makes them hobble. They do not mean you harm, they are just deflected on their path.
Hope this helps you in some small way, the next time you encounter a person that’s not the nicest to you. xox Sarah