I am far from perfect. I learn new things every day about where I am lacking as an individual. Sometimes it is disheartening and frustrating. Understanding our own flaws can be an overwhelming experience.
But this is where we learn and grow as humans. By exploring our own shortcomings and the issues we all face we can become more knowledgeable about one another and the world. If we wander our path to the chorus of our “yes men” we never truly hear where we are lacking and where we can expand our growth potential.
Some question me about my criticisms of others. I can appreciate people’s opinion that my criticisms often cast a negative tone, and can be a difficult conversation for many to have. Conflict is difficult. It is choosing to take a stand and voice our opinion on matters that are important and pressing. Often it is easier for people to not have the difficult conversation, and let others bad behaviors go unchecked in the name of “unity.”
It is human nature to not want to rock the boat. Rocking the boat means some rough waters ahead, and a lot of times people are happy with a boat going nowhere as long as it is not rocking too much. I do not subscribe to that theory. I believe that it is necessary to rock said boat every once in a while to keep it moving on this journey. Otherwise I have noticed the boat continues to go in circles with no chance of ever making it back to shore.
I have had activists question my integrity and ask, “What makes you think you are better than everyone else?”
Nothing. I know myself to well to ever believe that. I am one of the most flawed humans on the planet and I am extremely hard on myself. Far more than my silly written word blog criticisms of others. I wake up with me; and for better or worse, me and myself take on the challenges of the world. I am a gigantic shithead on a lot of days.
I am terrible at interpersonal communication. I allow myself to be distracted often, and have a difficult time being in the moment. My inability to turn my brain off and focus on what is right in front of me leads to social experiences that lack in many ways. I literally have to remind myself to “stay in the moment and pay attention” because I know that one of my shortcomings is communication with folks in person. I work on this all the time. For some reason, I can do just fine in a formal setting like a Board meeting or public meeting. But in more casual settings I have a tendency to let my mind wander and can be very socially awkward.
I am intolerant and judgemental. It is not because I think I am perfect or such a great person; it is because I believe that people can be better than they are and that frustrates the shit out of me. I often see the potential in people and situations, and fail to imagine the challenges and difficulties they may be experiencing. I project my own desires and confidence in their ability to succeed, and sometimes I grow disappointed when they come up short. I also hold myself and others to fairly high standards, and forget that not everyone has the same objectives and/or abilities as myself. I often reflect on my interactions and think, “Man…You are a real dick.”
I lack empathy sometimes. It is difficult for me to view the world’s through another person’s eyes, and try to understand what they are thinking and feeling so that I may better understand the reason they do the things they do. I expect people to have the same tough outer layer that I have, and often do not take into consideration a person’s personality or life experiences when dealing with them. This can often create hurt feelings and severe misunderstandings. It is difficult for me to imagine things outside of my bubble, and to understand and share in the feelings of others. This is a constant struggle for me.
I build walls to keep people out. One of my biggest problems is that I generally dislike A LOT of people. I have stood here on planet earth observing and deciphering human behavior for nearly 40 years now. Let’s just say I have not been entirely impressed. I have watched folks come and go, and have seen the best and the worst in people. Somewhere along the line my calculations have come up with that many people just suck. Not just in weed, but everywhere. Humans are a constant source of disappointment and pain. They can also bring joy and love; but too often the human experience is wrought with selfish and ugly behaviors. Call it nature or call it nurture; but regardless it is troubling; and it is very difficult for me to trust people and believe in them. Therefore I build walls around me by being unapproachable and distant. I reserve my affection for very few and many times I probably miss out on some great people because of my awesome fortress of intolerance.
I am kinda ugly and pretty chubby. I always have some fucked up look on my face. I dress like shit. Sometimes I smell. I make off color remarks. I laugh at people too much. I am insensitive. I focus way too much on my work and not enough on my family and friends. I suck at prioritizing. I am disorganized. I am overconfident on occasion that results in loss. Hair grows out of my ears and nose. I am a terrible listener. I do not work well with others. I am a know-it-all. I am an asshole.
I have a lot of issues. We all do.
I do not think I am better than anyone. In fact, I am pretty sure I come up short in many areas in comparison to others. I am okay with that and will continue to work on making myself a better person.
But I also think YOU are better than YOU. I will be critical when necessary and will work harder to be supportive. I will continue to call bullshit on people and things that I feel interfere with the greater good. I do not fear having the difficult conversation or letting folks know I am displeased with their conduct. I welcome the same.
It is not about me vs. you. It is about US vs. THEM. And if folks decide to allow their personalities or desire for attention interfere with the message and mission, I will have something to say about it. I hope that I can start the conversations and helps others to grow as individuals and as part of the community.
You are better than you, and you should never stop working on being better. I know you are better than me; but the question is can you learn to be better than you? I believe you can.