My interaction with large groups of people are fairly limited these days. Not that I ever went out of my way to socialize, but it used to happen more frequently. I don’t avoid social gatherings so much as I just prefer my home and the company of my dogs.
Being around people is stressful for me. Being a writer and an introvert I tend to observe rather than participate. Being in a room full of people – even people I know – is exhausting most of the time.
It is usually after such gatherings that I remember how mean people can be – not because they hate other people or even want to be that way. It’s just how people get sometimes. We get so caught up in our own minds and worlds and pain that we forget that what we’re thinking about is usually communicated to others through our body language, tone of voice, and words.
We all have issues. We all have pet peeves. We all have irritations that make us act like total assholes. We all have sharp points and rough edges. The sad part is that most of the time we are totally unaware of them so we go around beating each other up.
I’ve often wondered if some people are truly oblivious to how other people treat them. Or if they pretend while they’re in public and then cry at home like the rest of us. Or maybe they just don’t care.
When they get home they’re all bloody and bruised and feel like shit and have no idea why. Do they take a minute to think about it? Do they have an epiphany where they suddenly realize that just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean you have to be friends with them or even like them? Life is too short to spend it with people who, for one reason or another, just want to hurt you.
Sharp points and rough edges…
I so want to give people the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe that we all going around, figuratively and literally, punching, cutting, and otherwise maiming each other because we don’t know any better. None of us really want to hurt the people we’re closest to do we?
But then I remember when my points were the sharpest and edges were the roughest and there was always – always – a moment when my better self spoke up and said, ‘You’re being quite the bitch already. If you keep going you will actually do some damage that can’t be repaired.’
I can’t believe that I’m the only one. I can’t. Because I’m not that special. I’m just an ordinary person who had to go through some shit and was left holding the baggage – the very heavy, painful baggage. For awhile all I wanted to do was make everyone around me feel as hurt and lost and scared and angry as I felt.
But there was always that moment.
I ignored it at first, because inflicting pain on others was the only way I felt better. If I could make others cringe or avoid me altogether I felt like I won. I knew I didn’t want to be around me. I wasn’t good enough to be loved or even liked by anyone so I had to make people see that. It makes no sense to me now, but it did back then.
Logic goes right out the window when it comes to pain. When we’re in pain nothing makes sense and it seems like it will never end. When we see others around us who are seemingly happy and living the life that we deserve we do our damnedest to destroy that happiness, even it it’s only temporary.
And just because we may not be saying what is on our minds doesn’t mean that our thoughts, attitudes, and opinions aren’t being communicated.
Have you ever been listening so someone and then suddenly they stop talking and walk away? The next time that happens take a minute to think about what you were thinking at the time.
Were you annoyed by what they were saying or even just by the way they were acting? Were you just dying to jump in and tell them how wrong they were or stupid even? Were you thinking of a way to walk away without causing more drama?
Then remember how you were standing or sitting, what kind of facial expression you had, if your arms were crossed, or if you were tapping your foot impatiently.
Hmmm, I wonder what the other person was thinking. It may take longer with some, but eventually everyone picks up on the non-verbal cues that we really couldn’t give a shit about what they are saying.
Sharp points and rough edges…
It happens to the best of us. Believe me, I know. Some days are harder than others. There are some people who make it harder, too. That’s life.
But what would happen if we all took out the figurative sand paper and softened the points and smoothed out the edges – of ourselves, not others? Would we find that it’s easier to deal with people? Would we remember that we have just as many irritating habits as anyone else? Would we stop being so angry and judgmental?