As a twenty-something trying to navigate her way through the mud of work, career, and relationships, I find myself observing the human species on a larger whole more often than entirely desired. Why do I say that I would desire to observe less about human beings? Because it’s often a depressing topic, and far too complicated to provide any useful information.
This isn’t to say that there isn’t any relevant or enlightening information to be gained, it simply means that the information isn’t useful. Why, if it’s relevant and enlightening? Because people are stubborn, and harbor enough self-conceit to think themselves above the habitual nature of animals.
It’s one of the more frustrating things about studying faucets of anthropology in college; you learn all these things about the nature of the way that people think and interact–and you even see it acted out before you in strangers, friends, and family–and yet, the second you try to point out this almost instinctual habit of reaction and interaction and explain it, said person(s) become defensive or irritable. It’s because no one likes to be told they’re wrong, and certainly more so do people hate their opinions being discounted for reasons beyond their decision-making conscious.
Even I’m guilty of it. Why, I practically spelled out in my last post how much I hate being told I’m wrong, because I obviously think very highly of my own opinions. Why else would I put them out there for the world to see? And it’s certainly not that I feel I am the end-all-be-all of opinions and what is wrong and what is right, but rather my goal is to use this platform to explain in depth POVs that I’ve reasoned as logical, and which I don’t feel get heard enough. (Granted, this may only be because my Facebook newsfeed is largely made up of residents of Kansas, which means a large portion of my newsfeed is devoted to conservative, Christian, and Republican opinions/values.)
So, when faced with wading through all this muck on top of the already thick mud of adulthood I sludge through every day, I’ve come up with what I think is a very good suggestion on how to be a good person:
1) Don’t be a dick.
That’s it! It’s that simple. Stop being a jerk, and life will get better for you and the people around you!
But Tasha, what does this entail? How do I know whether or not I’m being an overwhelming jerk?
The tell-tale signs of being someone that no one likes are as follows:
Making bigoted or ignorant comments or actions against someone else because you don’t understand their lifestyle or choices.
A great, topical example of this is Caitlyn Jenner. By this point, I know I’m being repetitive when I point out that the crass, judgmental comments about Caitlyn and her bravery–though few in comparison to the welcoming and positive response she has received–are completely uncalled for. Even those with religious views against a transgender lifestyle who actually have hearts are disgusted by those posts. (I’m looking at you, Drake Bell.)
Not saying what you mean.
This is why all politicians are universally hated by all. Yes, I know that everyone needs to choose their battles. I agree that if everyone lit a fire under everyone else’s asses for every little thing, we’d all be scorched bottomless. (Actually, an ass-less world might not be a bad thing…though the terrible constipation the world would suffer might not be worth it.) But the truth of the matter is, people don’t like to be duped. They don’t like to be pushed around, they don’t want to be lied to. Things become far more complicated and frustrating when you cause more work, which is what always invariable happens when you don’t just come out and say whatever the heck it is you mean to say the first time. Don’t make us drag it out of you. This is why being extremely passive is the most irritating thing in the world. Be a nice person and find a way to say things nicely, and people will forgive you, even if you tell them that their mother is a fat witch.
Dumping your emotional baggage on others.
Yes, I know life is hard and sometimes you need help carrying the load. That’s fine. But if you find yourself feeding like a vampire off of the emotional response you can drum up in others, then that’s not okay. Creating emotional chaos does not lead to a good home, or a good person. Everyone gets emotional, everyone needs support, but once you find that support and fix the problem, drop it and move on. Do not dwell on the issue and continue to bring it up to your friends, roommates, and family like a festering wound that won’t heal. Festering wounds are disgusting and full of puss. Don’t be full of puss.
But Tasha! I do all of these things! I’m a huge, horrible asshole! Is there no hope for me?
Don’t fear! Here’s what you need to do to stop being a terrible person:
Now listen up, because it’s important that you make a distinction here: we’re not talking about lust–that love-like feeling that makes you a cuddle-monster–we’re not even talking about loyalty–that love-like feeling you get around your closest friends and makes you want to spend your whole paycheck on greeting cards for them–we’re talking about full-on, self-sacrificing love. The kind that is hard–maybe even sometimes painful–that means putting every being, including those annoying people you think you hate, before yourself without expecting a damn thing in return. Sound impossible? Well, you might be right. I know I’m not perfect enough to get that kind of love right all the time. In fact, I can’t even get it right 95% of the time. But I’m working on it. And if you want to be a good person, you should too. This kind of love is generous, understanding, and forgiving. This kind of love doesn’t post stupid judgmental comments on Facebook or Twitter. This kind of love doesn’t make a person feel like they are a bad person for living differently than you. This kind of love accepts all and lives by example.
So live by example. Learn to be a good person. Stop being a dick.