THERE’S MORE TO IT — At some point in our lives we’ve all been pretty sure we knew exactly how life worked.
Relationships, work and money; the roles of men, women and children; how to obtain success, satisfaction and fulfilment; the right and wrong of politics, society, crime and punishment; or how we ourselves fit into it all with roles and responsibilities. We formed our beliefs around what we saw, heard, and were taught.
Then, sooner or later life dealt us a few severe crushing blows. When life didn’t seem to follow our rules, or expectations of “how things were supposed to be.”
Maybe it was that relationship failure; or that failure in a marriage, or even on the playground, when they didn’t see things the way you did. Remember that first ‘after tax’ pay cheque? This was not not what you had calculated. What about that time you were pulled over, for no reason, but you got a ticket anyway? Or that collections notice from when the stupid bank screwed up.
It’s a hard pill to swallow that our mindset about life is generally incomplete or even broken.
Most of us come to terms with the reality that we may have had something to do with our broken relationships, that we didn’t understand taxes, that the police seldom ticket anyone for no reason, and collections notices generally come from our failures, not the banks’.
But the process is often difficult. When life doesn’t compute it usually goes one of two ways:
“Somebody is wrong and it’s not me!” this is where ignorance and prejudice and heard-heartedness are born.
The other side is: “Somebody is wrong, and I think it’s me?” This is where insecurity is born, broken-heartedness, and many kinds of mental illness can take root right here.
Of course, both these mindsets are quite incorrect because they’re founded on the idea that “it’s me or them.” This world view always has a winner and a loser, and if we can’t bear being the loser, we bully our way to look like the winner. If we can’t imagine ever winning, we become victims of life.
Both these personas drive people away from us, and assure a lonely, disconnected, frustrated and disappointing life.
Of course, the bullies could never admit it, and the victims can’t stop talking about it.
I think there is a reasonable third option for when our expectations and beliefs about “how things are” are confronted or even assaulted. Embrace the idea that your own understanding about life is incomplete, that maybe you don’t know how it all works, and neither does anyone else. It’s not their fault and it’s not your fault, in fact there is no fault to it at all. Why fight and lie and insist you’re right, or shrink back into feeling like you’re always wrong. Admitting you have room to grow is the beginning of growth, maturity and understanding. Those attributes attract people, and assure a fulfilling life.