You Might Be the Problem

People are, to say the least, a mixed bag. We could be loving, tender, understanding, and selfless, but we can also be hateful, insensitive, ignorant, and selfish – sometimes all in the same day. We’re prone to colossal fuck-ups, but are also capable of incredible feats. Since we contain such restless multitudes, we tend to dwell in our own heads a great deal of the time. Self-awareness proves to be one of our more elusive characteristics.

            Even I, clearly a supreme being with almost zero faults, can be thick at times. We’re all guilty of forgetting our own fallibility, that we not only make mistakes, but we’re just plain wrong. There’s great wisdom in knowing you’re wrong. I’m never wrong, but I’ve heard it’s awful. 

            All too often we catch ourselves saying, “what’s their problem?” We instinctively put the onus on someone else, because surely, we couldn’t have done anything wrong. But in asking what someone else’s problem is when it comes to your relationship, you’re dodging responsibility, perhaps on purpose. 

There’s an element of our culture for the last 10+ years whereby we’re all told that we’re “amazing” and anyone that doesn’t recognize that is the problem. I can’t think of a more dissociative crock of shit than “you’re amazing, fuck them.” Grow up. You’re not amazing. You’re unique and you deserve love, but you’re not amazing, and certainly not infallible.

            We’d all do well to consider, in every situation, that we’re wrong, that we’re the problem. It’s easy to dismiss someone else’s behavior, it’s not easy to come to terms with the fact that perhaps the reason they’re acting the way they are is because you crossed a line. 

            I’m going to step out on a limb here, but I do think part of the blame for this mentality goes to pseudo-positivity and too much therapy. I should first say that I do believe in therapy, and have gone throughout my life. But, what I don’t care for is the self-righteous validation that therapy can grant. Sometimes, therapy can enable some of our worst tendencies, though inadvertently and with the best intentions. The notion that you’re going to do what you want, and others have to deal with it is both empowering and incredibly self-centered. Your actions do have consequences, and other people can get hurt – you deserve the blame if you do something to hurt someone else, even if you don’t think you’re hurting anyone. 

            To operate as though anything left in your wake is someone else’s problem is disturbing. It’s reminiscent of a reality show mentality whereby somebody does something wholly insensitive and selfish, someone else reacts, and then the perpetrator can’t understand why the person would react that way.

            We must give due consideration not only to what we do, but how it affects or will affect others. Always consider that you might not be amazing. Try to remember that everything you do has consequences and affects at least one other person, and no one owes you the reaction you think you deserve.

Just because no one reacted to you, or told you you’re wrong, doesn’t mean you’re in the right.

Published by Christopher Goodlof

Writer, Visual Artist, Musician

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