I can’t tell you how many times these past couple of weeks that I have had to shake my head, sometimes in amazement, sometimes in disbelief, and even sometimes in disgust.
People, in general, never cease to baffle me.
(image courtesy of shutterstock.com)
My favourite saying lately has, (somewhat ironically), come from a Polish Proverb: “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” I have repeated this often in my many moments of amazement, disbelief, bafflement, and disgust as I felt myself unwillingly drawn into, or at least forced to watch, the drama and performances of others.
It’s not always that easy though, is it? We may desperately try to not let the misdeeds and misbehaviours of others affect our own circus and performances, but yet, sometimes, we find ourselves trying to cage those foolish monkeys, even if they aren’t ours.
I know I have said it before, but it still surprises me when individuals behave in a certain way and then are shocked when they must reap the consequences of their actions. It’s not rocket science or brain surgery: if you act like a jerk, people are going to avoid being around you. If you disrespect others, then people will begin to dislike you. It may have absolutely nothing to do with your heritage, your job, or your social status – if you are an ass you will find that there are very few people who will respect an ass. Trust me.
It also continues to surprise me that both the young and the old still (believe that they can?) get away with bullying. Have we not already seen too many of our loved ones suffer depression and even lose them to suicide because of the way that they have been treated by others? Have we not preached and cried and lamented over the fact that bullying must NOT be tolerated in ANY place at ANY time? But yet we still see it occurring. I have witnessed adults bullying adults and the bullying of children by other children and even by adults as well. There is something desperately wrong in our society today if we feel that it is ok to treat anyone poorly. A question I ask my students, my own children, and yes, even some adults: Would you want to be treated this way? If not, then don’t treat anyone else that way either (the Golden Rule philosophy). Bullying should NOT be tolerated and children should be taught at a very early age that unkindness is NOT ok. If no one tells them now, no one will be able to tell them as adults later. Trust me.
I’m not quite sure why I am repeatedly shocked when I see people bringing drama on themselves unnecessarily. Yes, we should all have opinions and we have a right to express those opinions, but why look for trouble when you don’t need to? Everyone deserves to have an opinion, but unless that opinion is shared tactfully, some may find themselves a target when others feel strongly in the opposite way. Disagreements do erupt, friendships and relationships are damaged, and all for what? It’s true, sometimes people take things too personally and feel that they are being “called out” in social media, when, in reality perhaps they are not. It boils down, once again, to treating others the way we would want to be treated ourselves; an issue which reminds me of another of my favourite sayings – “Be kind. And if you can’t be kind, be quiet”. It’s a much more pleasant way to live. Trust me.
I often find myself bewildered at the things which people say. Personally speaking, I don’t profess to know everything, but I am confident in my knowledge of the things which I do know. That doesn’t mean that I feel the need to argue or to find opportunities to prove others wrong. I don’t need to be “right” to feel better about myself or to prove that I ‘know’ more than someone else (which is often based only on one’s own opinion and not on any solid facts). I like to laugh and joke around and I do like to tease good-naturedly, but (hopefully) never to the point where I have made someone feel badly about themselves. I believe in being honest and upfront with others, but I believe in being kind more. There is always a way to be honest with someone and, at the same time, to avoid making them feel inferior. There are ways to be intelligent, funny, and honest and still be kind. People’s feelings should matter more than being right, honest, or funny because hurting someone else unnecessarily is much worse than being wrong, fibbing, or ‘un-funny’. Trust me.
I love mankind, but I will admit that ‘people’ can get under my skin on occasion. I suppose these experiences strengthen my character and teach me to love and care for others even when it is undesirable to do so. I can’t help but wonder: if everyone was the ring master of their own circus, tamed their own monkeys, and thought out their own performances a little more carefully, would the show not run a little more smoothly and the world of the big tent become a happier place? Trust me, I think it would.