“You run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. You run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.”–Raylan Givens, “Justified”
“It was a great surprise to me when I discovered that most of the ugliness I saw in others, was but a reflection of my own nature.” —Anonymous, via Napoleon Hill
(I love Elmore Leonard’s “Justified”, and T and I are watching the whole thing for the second time, one episode per night. Doesn’t all fit together as well as “Breaking Bad” but the fact that the comparison can even be considered is high praise indeed!)
I think this is at the core of so much social pain. A person who loves themselves, and extends their own “self” to include others, will see damaged people, frightened people, limited people…but rarely attribute sheer evil and villainy where fear suffices to explain.
Beginning with love, you forgive yourself. Doing this allows you to see your own value, wherever you are on your path, and makes it easy to believe you are worthy of love, while accepting the natural human flaws found in all people—you don’t need perfection, you need a perfect fit. Very different things.
Love of self, accepting the humanity of those around you allows you to look at the history of human struggle, violence, abuse, crime and cruelty on the same continuum as the history of creation, discovery, kindness, sacrifice, protection and love. You look at history as a record of human expansion and fear of lack of resources…at the struggles between black and white, male and female, gay and straight, Liberal and Conservative as nothing more than emergent aspects of our own personalities: you can see yourself in everyone, everywhere, “get” that we are capable of a huge and amazing range of behaviors, from the highest to the lowest, depending upon some ultimately unknowable combination of nature and nurture.
Loving yourself, accepting yourself, and learning to navigate that primary mastermind allows you to expand out to a larger tribe, one person at a time, bonding with those heading in the same direction and sharing the same values, while still respecting the humanity of those who disagree. It also allows you to have the self-respect to stand up to the Smiling Monsters who deliberately sow seeds of discord.
And…it allows us to believe we are WORTH success. That it is not somehow “wrong” to succeed, to thrive, to be happy and healthy and loved. Our own beliefs about this stop us more than anything else.
If you look out into the world and see beauty, that speaks to your soul. If you look out into the world and see ugliness, that speaks to the quality of your soul as well. The choice is yours.