Sadly, I feel I must preface this to say that this is not a joke and I am being 100% sincere. I say this because what comes next may surprise or even shock some of you who knew an earlier version of me who displayed none of what is to follow. But as much of my life is currently focused on growth and emotional evolution — becoming a better version on me, this is where I am at now. And my intention is to use this as a launching pad to an even better version in the future. (I find it sad/funny that this is necessary, but alas…. I feel that it is.)
One of the hardest things I am attempting to change about myself, evolve out of, is erasing my superiority complex. It has been a devil on my shoulder in most everything I have ever done. When confronted with things I felt better than, disagreed with or even just may not have understood I too often would just dismiss whatever by affixing a label such a stupid, useless, nonsensical, irrational, etc etc… imploding any sense of worth it may hold, making it beneath me. Inconsequential.
Or I affixed myself the position of victor/champion/wtfever; thus, whatever I was in opposition to was the loser, the unremarkable, the useless, etc, etc.. Truth be told, at times I even often saw myself as the Queen/King and others as just pawns. So not only was I superior to them, their built in disposability and ‘single directional abilities’ served not only to make others easily dismissive, but also as a chance to elevate myself, even if wholly unjustifiable.
I am positive that this type of behavior was born out of the need to make myself feel better about who I am and cover my faults by blaming others.
This, simply put, is DEPLORABLE!
This is also the epitome of negative thinking, as all I am able to do is see what I deem negative and unwanted qualities in the people, things, and ideas I dismissed. As it is far easier to wipe away the negative issues before you than the positive, or even the potential for positive. I realized this last year, when a friend insisted on asking me “is that a positive or negative way of looking at things.” I’ll be honest, at first it was more than a little grating of a comment — mainly because it made me stare into my normally unquestioned train of thought, but then as it went on and I saw my habitual negative thoughts on display I was most grateful. I even started to ask myself this question when my friend was not around.
To say it was transformative would be quite an understatement.
And it lead me to this:
I, of course, am not better or worse than any of these people and/or things. None of us are. And of course the act of dismissing, diminishing, invalidating, whatever does not make me feel better about myself. Ever. Never ever. Not at all.
I would argue quite the opposite, in fact.
Modern life is not about competition — no matter what societal/economic pressures try to tell us. We are not animals fighting over the rights to one small, shallow pool of drinking water. We are not even a class of first graders fighting over an eroding chair count in musical chairs.
We exist in a world of abundance, where needs can easily be met.
But though our dismissive behaviors, our need to “seem” superior, we make that reality impossible to achieve. Dismissive behavior births an us vs them mentality, where people hoard things, making them scare, diluting the abundance that is there for all of us — to share.
I know each time I big myself up at the expense of someone/something, I actually toss any hopes of inflating myself into a cesspool. I know this, from the core of my infinite potential; yet, when things start to get hard or overwhelming, or difficult to understand and/or communicate, I find that I can easily slip back into this destructive behavior.
So I write and mean this not only as some sort of extrinsic advice, but also to remember it at all times myself:
Stop asserting yourself as better, or worse, than those around you. The only person you should ever try and be better than is the person you were yesterday. And if by chance you do not make that goal today, thankfully, you can make up for tomorrow.
And yes, as easy as that is to think or type, it can be equally as difficult to implement. Societally we have all been trained to value competition and devalue compassion. We cheer on sports teams and vilify nurses wanting proper value for their work. “YAY TEAM!,” “Why do those nurses think they deserve a pension!?”. Basic human rights are often ignored so sporting events can go on, see the formula one event in Bahrain last year.
So yeah, somehow compassion is seen as weak and unwanted. Therefore, compassion is a radical, transgressive act. And one the world could use a lot more of. But is also something that we must cultivate within ourselves and release into the world if we expect the others to reciprocate.
I’m starting by doing my damndest to not dismiss others, to not assume a superiority (that clearly does not exist), finding the value in others – as we all have value, and never ever ever try and big myself up by tearing others down. I know there are perhaps a billion other ways to increase compassion in the world, but for now, these are the one’s I am focusing on. Which small change can you make that would help fill the world with compassion?