It isn’t just me, is it? Don’t we all deplore certain types of people, people who persist in believing and acting in ways we find loathsome?
When I encounter certain irrational behaviors, my irritation risks rising into exasperation. So it’s time to vent.
Following are some of the triggers that derail my equanimity and compel me to find solutions. Can you relate?
1. People who give up on democracy. Some people have the idea that not taking part in the democratic process is somehow a good thing. A former neighbor of mine believed that staying out of the process entirely would speed along the “revolution” when the “people” would take over from the corporations, or was it the government? Such an attitude is too much like that of the religious folks who delight, on some level, in the large-scale tragedies of others, believing such chaos will soon herald the end of the (present) world and bring on a better (imaginary) one. When encountering such an attitude, I explain why I find it irrational and dysfunctional.
2. People who don’t discriminate in how they use their free time. They watch or read anything that is put in front of them. They don’t get that this passive ingesting of whatever some big company promotes (on the front table at the bookstore, on the front page of online booksellers, hyped by newspapers and viewing guides) is stealing their valuable time for someone else’s profit. Those who dismiss all critics might take a few minutes to discover one with whom they often agree. Why do I care? Because less able-to-be-pushy books and other arts and entertainments are easily loss in the process. I do what I can to point folks toward online sites that help people use their entertainment time wisely.
3. Idolizing household spotlessness. I despise the obsessive fear, inculcated in women (mostly) through the generations, that a little grime must be eradicated NOW. Not that I want to live in a pigsty where I can’t find anything and vermin lurk under every sheet of strewn paper. But the idea that cleanliness is next to godliness has wasted too many hours of too many precious lives. All the men, women, and children in a family ought to participate in keeping the environment they share habitable and healthful. Dirt is not sin, and cleanliness isn’t virtue. This is a hard one to change minds about, so I usually try to get family members to see through the eyes of those who see differently.
4. The overuse of excuses and exceptions. Once, when I was trying to lose weight, a friend mentioned to me that I was making “so many exceptions.” She was right, and since then I’ve noticed how common this fallacious thinking is. Someone will say they are “trying” to eat healthfully, but when you raise an eyebrow at their frozen pizza or other package with an ingredient list longer than anyone’s patience, they merely say, every time, “But I only eat this once in a while. And only a little.” And then they proceed to take their overflowing handful of medications. Or, if young, they say, “But I had broccoli yesterday,” or “I was stressed.” I wonder how an aging population can support an even older population that relies on such excuses. I’m always telling people what my old friend told me, and since it helped me, perhaps it will help others.
5. The whole idea of being offended. It’s not that words don’t hurt. They can and often do. But I don’t live in one of those “honor” societies where a wrong look may result in a challenge to a duel (or some modern but no less crazy equivalent). Only when someone specifically threatens me, do I feel fear. Feeling offended is weird: Either the offender is correct in his or her statement, in which case you might do well to learn from it. Or the offender is spouting nonsense, in which case, you may as well ignore it except in the rare circumstance you must respond to protect your reputation. But taking offense for its own sake, to feel dissed or demeaned when such wasn’t even intended, is a waste of your psychic energy. (Still, I never use outdated words that we now know are experienced as slurs. Why be just plain mean?) When someone wonders if they offended me, I always explain my stance of interpreting most words as being well meant.
6. Simplistic addiction and recovery memoirs and essays in which, due to a blindingly perfect yet simple-minded epiphany, everything turns out swell for the writer, forevermore. If you’ve been around a while, you know that changing personality and deeply learned behavior isn’t that simple. While we’re at it, I also hate the sort of sayings you read all the time on Facebook and Twitter in which you’re advised that all you need do is this or that and everything will be tidy and nice in your life. It’s possible that if you took one of the best of those sayings, became truly mindful about making it part of your life, good things would follow. Or maybe not.
- Whew. I feel better. Now it’s your turn. Dare to share what you hate and loathe and despise, and how you take positive action in the world to counter such behaviors. Feel free to comment in list form if that’s easier.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Susan K. Perry
Follow me on Twitter @bunnyape