Thursday, May 26, 2016

Evolution Stops Here

I am disappointed in myself.

In my defence I was tired.

But, I know that this is never a reason and always an excuse.


I was tired.

We were driving home on a hot day. Traffic had been really, really slow. We finally got to a point where we were moving more quickly and, with the windows down, the air felt wonderful and cool. We stopped at a stop light. A handsome man in a convertible looked over toward us and spotted me, he immediately turned to his girlfriend, the both looked, she glanced away quickly, embarrassed that I had seen her, he broke into laughter.

Now, I know.

It's his behaviour that is the issue.

He has no right to pointed and purposely laugh at or ridicule another person.

But, I didn't focus on his behaviour. I looked at him. Really looked at him. At that face that I thought was handsome. I scanned for flaws. I found them. I focused on them. In my mind I called him all sorts of names because of those facial flaws, flaws not immediately evident, but clearly there. I was vicious. And I felt better.

I want to evolve past the impulse to cruelty and meanness.

I want to be the person that notices behaviour and comments on behaviour, not someone who looks for ways to hurt back.

I don't want to immediately attack.

I want my mind to be more disciplined.

I want my mind to be able to react to cruelty in ways other than cruelty.

But I'm not there yet.

Give me time.


ABEhrhardt said...

I want to not have automatic reactions about someone's appearance.

I'm making progress, but the automatic responses are deeply ingrained. Us vs. them.

Before I was rational, I'm sure I was observing the reactions of people in my environment, learning how to be if I wanted to remain one of 'us.'

I work at it. I catch those automatic responses. I talk back to them. Some of them are yielding, and a couple have actually changed. But it's a lifetime worth of work.

Given how imperfect I am, it's kind of funny to be so judgmental of others (in the safety of my own head - I learned long ago not to let things out). I try. I replace the automatic thought with the one I wish were automatic. I dig into why. Work in progress. It gets prayed over.

Unknown said...

Thanks,Dave. I'm sure you didn't intend for this column to make someone chuckle aloud, but I did.
I'm 2 months into a new job that has (for me) a steep learning curve. I'm gradually getting to know coworkers, but since we are all visiting patients in their homes, it takes a while. Met someone yesterday - she took great pains to explain to me the seriousness of an error I made on a list of instructions in a patient's home - in my first week of work. It did not put patient at any risk, and there was no chance that any professional would repeat the error based on what I had written.
Boy was I peeved! I tried to be polite and appear respectful, but my inner dialogue was colorful. When I related the incident to my spouse, I ended up announcing she is "a poopy head." Where that kindergarden epithet came from I have no idea. So then I was beating myself up for being so immature...your column this morning made me realize we are all humans, all imperfect...and that she might think I am 'a poopy head' too!
I have enough to do today without dragging yesterday along with me. Thanks for giving me the prompt to remember that we are all human and flawed...the perfectionist in me is so judgmental of me and everyone else.
Hope today is a good day for you, and Joe. Clairesmum

Namaste said...


Ron Arnold said...

I am firmly of the opinion there are no such things as 'rights'. There is only opportunity or lack of opportunity. A society understanding and providing for equal opportunity for the people that make up the society is a good thing. However - some opportunities taken are harmful to others, and it would better serve everyone if they weren't taken. But - some folks don't recognize that . . . laws (limits and penalties regarding an opportunity) or no laws . . .

The 'handsome' dude in the car strikes me as a rather ugly fellow . . . and I'm guessing the people that regularly spend time with him are either ugly in the same way - or recognize his inner troll and tolerate his presence till they have opportunity to leave it.

The Shorter Bloggess said...

I think your goal is a noble one but it's pretty difficult because yours was a normal human reaction. I don't think it's a coincidence that we refer to cruel behaviour as 'ugly', I think when you see someone behaving in that way they do look ugly.

You reminded me of a bit of text from Roald Dahl that I read recently.

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Mary Nau said...

We call it "The jackal show." That jackal has a way of performing in all our heads! Similar thing happened to me yesterday and, wow, what a beastly show that kept playing out in my head. The only way I've found to deal with it is to let it do its thing and wear itself out. Like you, I have the will to react well, but human nature seems to have its own will and, unfortunately, we share the same space at the same time!