It’s been quiet around here, I know, but that doesn’t mean it’s been quiet in my head. (Is it ever? No. No it is not.) I’ve been having lots of thinks and lots of reads, but not so many writes. THAT ENDS NOW. Bonus: for patiently waiting (and not at all because I’m having trouble focusing on any one thing), I’ve gathered up a lot of different thoughts here. It’ll be like reading several posts in one.
Gosh, we get angry sometimes, don’t we? It’s so easy to be mad at other people. And yet … most people don’t go through life looking to hurt others. But it’s a busy, crowded, confusing planet we’re living on. We bump into each other, we say things that get misunderstood, we say things in anger, we borrow stuff and forget to return it, we step on toes. Notice I didn’t say “they.” I said “we.”
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. We’ve all offended people, cut other drivers off on the highway, misspoken. And that’s the minor stuff! People who remember every offense given them are, quite frankly, miserable lumps of coal and much harder to be around than the people who offended them in the first place. A person who remembers with bitterness sucks much of the warmth and kindness out of their immediate surroundings. They do more damage to themselves (and the people around them) than the person who inflicted the original injuries did. And either the people who gave offense originally don’t realize what they did, know and took care of it as they felt they could, or don’t care/aren’t affected by the vitriol. In any of those three scenarios, what’s the point in holding a grudge? Let it go. Just let it go. (Yes. You can. It is within your power. LET IT GO.)
Humans can do some bad stuff, for sure. But … couple thoughts: what is the actual likelihood that YOU are a good human but most of the others are bad? What kind of sense does that make? I think maybe it goes more like this:
You find what you look for. Literally. I recently got laid off, and the kindnesses I have experienced in response have been a boon of warm fuzzy. At one point, a stranger actually paid for some of my groceries! But if I’d stayed curled up in bed with the covers over my head, figuratively or literally, I would have missed that and all the other good stuff. When you open up and let people know that life has kicked you in the naughty bits, especially if you seem to be willing to keep your chin up, people want to help.
Good is relative. If you expect others to live by your moral code, invariably you will be disappointed. Most people probably don’t even know what your moral code is. (Pro tip: They’ll ask if they want details.) There’s a general societal baseline, which is why no matter what we believe most of us don’t go around whacking others with baseball bats, but once you get to the finer points, we each are responsible for deciding how to live our lives. And then we have to live with the consequences. Pretty good system overall, really. But if you believe that your way is the proper yardstick, only people who believe exactly as you do will ever be able to measure up. No wonder everyone else looks like evil-on-a-stick! It’s funny how what looks like “bad” from one point of view might easily look like healthy self-interest from another.
There’s good and bad in everyone. With apologies to Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, and every person who now has “Ebony and Ivory” stuck in their heads, there are indeed actions that are societally agreed upon as being bad things, such as the aforementioned “whacking others with baseball bats.” And yet, we each of us have the potential to do those things, to inflict damage upon others. We all carry a potential for violence, figurative and otherwise, in our hearts (or lizard brains). Sometimes the monster gets out. Live long enough, and you will surely do something that you swore you would never do—and justifying it afterward doesn’t make it go away. We’re human. Nobody’s perfect. (See Forgiveness, above, for help in dealing with that.)
Seriously, there’s no point in messing about with anything that’s not Arabica. Whatever other magical tweaks you do, however else you adulterate your brew (and I’m not judging; I can’t seem to quit powdered coffee creamer), if you don’t start with Arabica beans, you’re just going to be disappointed.