Let’s talk about my moral belief system this week. We will start at the foundation.
1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
This is where it all starts. I hate hypocrites. Good foundation certainly but I think it necessary to explain why that is my core belief. See my Dad was a horrible hypocrite and my Mom, certainly not a hypocrite like my Dad, but having the tendency to be unpredictable. I love my Mom very much, don’t get me wrong. I am lucky to be where I am today because with a Dad like mine I could have ended up in a multitude of unhappy and dysfunctional places but Mom made sure that didn’t happen. Doesn’t mean she is perfect though. So as I was saying, the thing about Mom is you can never be quite sure as to how she will react to something. You could tell her ‘I’m preggers’ (I’M NOT, IT IS JUST AN EXAMPLE) one day and she would be joyous or other day and she would suggest it was a big mistake. As a result of my father’s hypocrisy and Mom’s, um, flexibility, I am real big on consistency and commitment. The easiest way to achieve said consistency and commitment in my life is, I believe, to live by the golden rule, make it known, and hold others to it as well. Of course here comes the first conflict. Another belief I have can be summed up by:
2. Who the hell am I to judge?
Of course, that is sort of hard to avoid when you are doing unto others and expecting them to do back. Cause sometimes they don’t. On the other hand, if I take the Jesus/Ghandi/Confucius way and only be ‘doing’ and not expecting ‘unto me’, I may get walked over a lot. OK, so let’s say I am not judgmental just curious. Because I see life as a never ending journey of self -discovery. Let’s face it people, I will never be ‘happy’ with myself. I will always have another higher bar that I want to reach. Another expectation I have for myself. But how do I grow to meet these expectations? By learning about other people. By observing people’s behavior in all social/relationship situations. By asking questions about people’s motives and thought processes. Now I will admit, that I am more than willing to say straight out, as I have hear, I hate hypocrites. So if someone behaves in a hypocritical way, it is pretty hard for me to hide my displeasure. Though sometimes, since I am so emphatic about hating hypocrisy, I think people just assume that I am judging them because they feel they are being hypocritical. Anyhow, this has caused me life long problems with friends. I am a very demanding person. I have a high bar. It is higher for me than anyone else, but it is still pretty high and with all my really in-your-face questions, like, ‘Do you really think it is a good idea to have a 14-year old on a diet?’ people feel threatened, judged and subsequently defensive. But really I am just curious. OK, if you are beating your child, I am going to ask you, once, nicely to stop and then I am going to judge you and go to the cops, but if your aren’t overtly hurting anyone, the only reason I ask is because I am curious of the thought process that brings a person to this behavior. I say things like that to challenge my own beliefs with your answer. Sometimes I agree and change my belief and sometimes I don’t, but I always learn something. Though, even I can see how this is problematic. And to be honest, sometimes after asking the question and hearing the answer, I discover, I don’t like this person. Of course, this shouldn’t really matter because why do I have to like everyone, just like not everyone has to like me. We can still exist in the same world though, can’t we?
3. There is right and wrong and whichever side we end up on, often determines our true happiness in life
It is all perception. I mean, my coach, Ursula, was saying today that everyone is right and no one is wrong, in their own perception, their own world. And yes, I agree with this in an individual sense, but how do you negotiate relationships, if everyone is right but no one is happy? Quit? I have a habit of taking on ‘birds with broken wings’. I try to save people a lot. Especially the ones that don’t want to be saved. If I believe what Ursula says, then my friend Beth, who constantly dates men who flatter her and tell her what she wants to hear so they get what they want ( a multitude of different things) then having gotten what they wanted treat her like dirt, something she falls for over and over, is right to think that these men care for her, that this one will be different, that she is not sacrificing long-term happiness for short-term perks, by dating and befriending those that tell her what she wants to hear instead of what might be more close to reality. She is unhappy. She goes through these cycles of joy and depression that are getting shorter and shorter. From my vantage point, me, my opinion, it is like an addiction. The same dose isn’t having the same effect any more and she keeps having to up the dosage which only means she falls harder. But according to Ursula and my second belief above, Beth is happy. I still don’t really have an answer for this one. The only thing I have learned, in respect to these ‘birds’, is how to detect these relationships and see them for what they are, drains on my energy and caring. These people aren’t bad. Being unhappy isn’t, in and of itself, bad. OK it might be bad for the unhappy person, if they think they are unhappy, but it doesn’t ‘normally’ hurt anything else (unless you are a maniacal dictator). Notice I didn’t say that I learned how to avoid or get out of these relationships. That I have not figured out. I am attracted to these people because they are usually exciting and fun, in the good times. Everyone likes the life of the party. I am getting better at figuring it out sooner before I get too wrapped up in it, which helps a bit. See when I get into a new relationship, meet a new friend, I go all the way. I want to know everything about that person. I want to spend lots of time with them, I want to be close with them quickly. Intellectually I know this is not possible nor a good idea. One can simply not know someone well until you have had the time to experience life with that person, and that takes time. You can’t force experience. As I was saying, by trying to get too involved too soon, the relationships get too intense and when I start to see the signs, I don’t know what to do. I hate the idea of cut-and-run, I don’t like having that done to me and well, do I have to say it? So I try to help. I am honest. I ask a lot of questions, and if that person resists, it can get ugly. I push harder. I make accusations. All in the name of truth. Next belief:
Liars are up there with hypocrites. But if we reflect on dictum 2, who am I to say they are lying? Who am I to say what ‘truth’ is? One can infer the truth, if someone says one thing and does another. Truth was, they weren’t telling the truth. When people break up with people they often say ‘It’s me, not you’, when it really is you but it is easier to say that and walk away than go through the anguish of the truth. I was advising a male friend recently about his habit of breaking up with girls via the passivity method (he admitted to it). My words of wisdom went like this..though having a guy tell me he didn’t dig me and didn’t want to date me (anymore) was painful, I could never look back and say they were assholes, cause they weren’t, they were honest and straight forward, no games. So there you are. Remember how in “When Harry met Sally…” Meg Ryan’s character said she and her long-term boyfriend didn’t want to get married and have kids because if would stifle the spontaneity of their relationship (I am paraphrasing) but right after they did break up, he found another girl and they got married. Was he lying to her all that time, or was it just different with the other girl? Somehow I think there was probably something omitted in the breakup conversation, but it was just his and her reality at that time. Their truth, which changed when the situation changed. But then again, it does hurt to have someone say one thing to you, especially if it has to do with your relationship with them, and then do something else. If they have a pattern of this, like, say Management, are they lying or is it a very variable truth? All I know is I end up feeling hurt and abused a lot of the time. But back to my ‘birds’. So I have learned that I have this behavior, I have learned these relationships aren’t good for me, I have learned to sense them sooner. I have not learned how to avoid them, keep them at a safe distance and enjoy the relationship as is possible, nor have I learned to extricate myself tactfully. But I’m learning and that is what counts. In my book, it is the thought that counts the most, the honest and heartfelt truth, followed up by acting in accordance with that stated truth. (Goethe has a great quote on this topic).
5. Don’t just blow people off (which I suppose is more a request than a dictum since I never just blow people off)
Ursula asked me if I could change the volume of my directness towards a person. She gave the example of telling someone all the time that they work too much and don’t take enough time for themselves. Sometimes saying this helps. But if you say it to that someone all the time, sometimes, at certain times, it isn’t what they need to hear, even if it is true. So could I say something to some of my friends like, ‘I really care about you and I want to share how I feel about this or that, are you willing to listen’. I can do that with my closer friends, amusingly enough, but not with my newer friends. It doesn’t always go so well either. Sometimes when my overwhelm personality has pushed someone away, I try to find out why. I accept that they don’t want to be friends anymore, but I’d like to know, specifically, what it was that I did to upset them. Cause I want to learn. But that hasn’t worked too well. People avoid conflict and uncomfortable situations. Of course how can I ever change if they don’t tell me what I did wrong or what I could have done right? Sure, in general, I know what it is, I seem judgmental and difficult and have really high expectations, but it would help if people wouldn’t just blow me off. Anyhow, in the vain of dictum 1, if I decide I can no longer handle a certain relationship, I find it necessary to to tell them and tell them why, which doesn’t usually go over very well. But at least I tried. At least I cared enough not to just blow them off. Whatever. So I am going to work on the volume thing, maybe that will be my next break through.
So why all of this, which is typically Heather style confusion and chaos? Because I have been thinking about it. Because I have very few close friends (though that depends on how you define close friend and I think that may be the next thing in my belief system that changes). Because I have virtually no friends from my childhood. And this isn’t complaining. I am not whining about being lonely. I am not really lonely. I just have a pattern in my life of meeting people, getting into very intense relationships and then having the relationship blow up. I don’t want to be a hypocrite and say, ‘Oh it is always their fault, I just have to pick better friends.’ because some of my friends actually say this and I simply tell them, quite directly, that it takes two to tango. If you got shot in an attempted back heist, it isn’t your fault necessarily, but if your heart gets broken or you lose your job, it always has something to do with you (though I must admit I have heard stories of women who got AIDS from their husbands who had these secret lives as a intravenous drug user which really sounds like it wasn’t them but maybe the signs were there and they ignored them? I am just saying my experience has always been, to this point, it takes two to tango). So the fact I have few close friends and no childhood best buddies, has to do with me and my personality. My high expectations. My bad habit of being attracted to people that ‘need’ to be saved. My direct and intense nature. I don’t really regret anything. I have a few friends I wish I could say I was sorry to but life goes on, and I learn, I hope, at least I try. Cheers.