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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Expectations

For the longest time, I could never really understand criticism. I always thought the one dishing it out considered him/herself free of mistakes (aka, perfect). Well, knowing what I know and going through what I've gone through, I've realized that no human is free of mistakes. As a matter of fact, I have a phrase that I like to say:

Shit happens and those that don't believe it happens are full of shit.

I don't mean to be tacky or profane, but come on, why do people put others through the ringer thinking they are fully realized and free of fault? Maybe deep down these people do know that, but they put on a mask to hide this. I think we can be spared of a lot of grief if people were a little more honest with themselves.

I've been fussed at for years by all kinds of people. Shame, regret and guilt were some of the usual feelings I felt whenever this would happen. Fearing I would never be forgiven for my "careless" mistakes, I would close off more and more of myself to others.

Well, it only was until recently that I realized that I should not carry this kind of weight. To be honest, there is a big sense of relief with understanding this. My knees don't feel so close to the ground now.

I don't pretend to be free of fault and I don't aspire to be. I choose to strive for something I heard in a movie recently: "It's about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn't let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything you could."

Now, when I hear or see a person fussing/overly-criticizing another person, I imagine other possible factors with the person that is dishing it out. This person isn't just yelling at the other person; this person is yelling at the parent that didn't give him/her enough attention, the spouse that won't listen, the child that just doesn't understand things the way he/she does and so on.

Realizing all of this, I came to the grand understanding of something very freeing: it's not my fault. Even if it is my fault, I shouldn't beat myself up over it. This is a basic concept of life, but coming to the understanding of it isn't as simple as one would think.

Criticism is a natural tendency. It's an activity that we all do but do we ever stop and think about what we're saying? Of course we want others to be honest and we want to be honest with others, but how much do we want? I doubt anyone truly enjoys rude/misinformed comments, but we can't stop them from coming our way or them coming out of us. I don't think we're bullet-proof, but we shouldn't feel like we're target practice.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

you're right on the money. It's true that we have to take responsibility for our actions, but we can't carry them around like a burden. Too many people expect too much of others. I try to live by the idea of "only expecting from others what I expect from myself". With that in mind, I don't put that many expectations on people. If only more people thought that way.

Banj said...

We were never meant to carry around guilt about things that we can't control. And as far as that goes, we were never meant to carry around guilt for something we've been forgiven for. There is no one perfect on this earth. Those that criticize to make others feel low, are covering up their own problems. You take it too hard.