(originally posted elsewhere, February 4, 2013)
You never hear anyone say things like,
I’m a delusional, violent douchenozzle. It’s just the way I am.
I’m abusive and mean. It’s just the way I am.
I’m jealous, controlling, spiteful and passive-aggressive. It’s just the way I am.
No one ever says those things, yet there are code-words and phrases for a lot of behaviors that are similar to those, and you see it all the time.
How many profiles have you seen with the following quote (oft attributed to Marilyn Monroe)?
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
How many times do you see someone posting something along the lines of, “I’m just that way, and nothing anyone does (including me) will ever change that?”
Selfishness, insecurity, argumentativeness, condescension, arrogance, tactlessness, negativity, jealousy, possessiveness, passive-aggressive behaviors, hyper-critical or overly judgmental attitudes, towards ourselves and/or others, and a plethora of other undesirable traits and/or behaviors are often expected to be given blanket acceptance, under this premise of it’s-just-the-way-I-am.
Frankly, it’s bullshit.
Every single one of those things can be addressed, improved, or even, ultimately changed. Every single one of those things is the responsibility of the person exhibiting the attitudes or behaviors to handle. It’s not on our friends, or our partners, to adjust their lives to accommodate such flaws. It’s on us, individually, to work on growing, improving, evolving into better people. That’s also not something we should do for those other people. It’s something each of us should do, because we realize that each and every one of those things is having a negative impact on our own lives, our own happiness. The fact that changing them makes us better friends and partners is simply incidental to making us better human beings, with the potential for living healthier, more fulfilling lives.
I despise that if-you-can’t-handle-me-at-my-worst mentality, and the quote that goes with it. It’s a cop-out. Displaying bad behavior as a test for how compatible you’ll be with someone is a totally asshat move. It’s like saying, “Hey, I really like you, and I think we could be good together, as friends/partners/whatever, so I’m going to be a total jerk to you, and see if you can handle it. How does that strike you?”
How about we start owning our shit, hmmm? How about, instead of that quote, we start thinking something like this:
I’m human. While I will make mistakes, and falter from time to time, I’m going to give you my best, as much as I can. I’m going to try to improve the things that could use improvement, and be the best me I can, for ME. While I don’t promise perfection, I do promise effort. I promise that, if I care enough about you for you to be an important part of my life, I will give you something worthy of that. I will hold myself to that standard. I’d like for you to give me the same consideration.
How about, instead of trying to match up with people based on how they handle us at our worst, based, really, on our lowest common denominator, we try to match up based on giving our best?
And why is that such an alien concept?