Friday, May 04, 2007

A clean slate

My son said something to me a few days ago, in a moment of frustration, that I found to be over the top and hurtful. I asked him how he could say such a thing, and he responded by saying "You have nerves of steel and it wouldn't really bother you anyway."

He's right. I do have nerves of steel. I also have mental context filters which weed out nonsense spewed from various sources, including my own son, and the bottom line is that I usually don't let things bother me much. But I do chew on things, so to speak, analyze them, try to make sense of them.

I have long realized though that if someone outside of my immediate family says something hurtful or does something to me that causes problems of some sort, I can easily shrug it off and carry on. I can't control these people (nor do I have any desire to do so) and whatever they do or say, however insane or silly it might be, is not worth even a moment of concern or frustration. When someone very close to me says or does something, I do pay a little more attention.

Do we all do that? I think so. I think we hold those close to us up to higher standards than others. And if we don't do so, we should. If my son is guilty of some foolishness, I wonder where I failed to teach him that that particular behaviour is unacceptable.

My son felt remorse, apologized, and I forgave him. That is loving and civil behaviour. I wonder, sometimes, where the civil behaviour is in much of what goes on in the world around us. Everyone hates everyone else, or at least some targeted group that is, in their minds, responsible for all the ills in the world. People are blinded by rhetoric, by propaganda, by bullshit. The political right and left spend so much time assaulting each other verbally that it is a wonder that anything ever gets done. What is it, in the human condition, that causes all this irrational behaviour?

We all need to mind our own business. We all need to forgive each other for transgressions, real and imagined, of the past. We need to start a clean slate. If we don't do these things, we are not part of the solution. We are part of the problem.


  1. forgiveness. we've battled that around quite a bit lately. Julie at the Ravin Maven has a round up if you are interested, mr. nerves of steel.

  2. I dated a Mr. Nerves of Steel and found myself releasing my frustration on him verbal occassionally, because nothing phased him and it made me feel better in the least, and in the most, may have warranted a response. Temporarily, we became the vent-cuz-I-can and I-feel-nothing duo, except that he did feel and I didn't realize it and my venting did nothing to improve either of our situations.

    We teach people how to treat us. If we allow them to vent, they will. If we adorn ourselves with signs welcoming abuse, abuse we shall receive. If we act like we can handle anything, everything we will handle. If we are never hurt, no one will mind themselves to not hurt us. And, if we ask people to take responsibility for their actions against us, they will, they will, in the least, be made to think of them.

    Sounds like your son just took for granted the persona you presented and that it was easy to justify an outburst, because you are the one that contains yourself and responds on the fuel of rationale and he is one that for a moment did not want to control his reaction and knew that even if hurtful, temporarily, you'd balance like a well weighted blow up punching doll.

    It's good that you let him know that you are human, too. When my Nerves of Steel informed me of this fact, I felt very bad and realized just how much I must have hurt him in ways that he hadn't bothered to share with me.

    Our world is the same. A lack of communication - real communication and a whole lot of frustration and rationalization.

    We feel, we react, we justify; we are contained in our tiny universes and we accept this dog-eat-dog civilization.

    People are blinded by rhetoric, by propaganda, by bullshit. And, people are equally lazy. And, self-interested. ...Why should we stuff our fears and frustrations or bother to learn about another group or person's situation, the world has put upon us and we spend enough time in a day working for others, working for our family, and if we vent, ignore or complain - this is our right and if anyone does not like it, that is their right.. and everyone is claiming their right to negate manners and etiquette and education. And, to blame everyone else for the reasons why they do it and for the fact that others do it...

    It's a sad state of affairs.

    Just keep talking, Atavist. Communication is Key. You know it, your son knows it; and, the world is a brighter place thanks to those who do not fear to cut the bullshit, open their minds and eyes, forgive a slight and hold the door open for a moment.

  3. Amen.
    Glad you didn't save it for Sunday, because it's something we all need to hear til we do it a bit more.

  4. Jen: I had every intention of writing on the topic but can't seem to find the time right now.

    Penny: Yep, you got it: act like a doormat and you will become a doormat. That's a lesson that we often don't learn until we have allowed ourselves to be abused for far too long, even if we do have nerves of steel. My son is basically a nice kid, a rank amateur in the realm of abuse. I have known others, though over the years, that would walk on you with considerable glee if you let them.

    Galt: You're right. Whenever there is the slightest doubt in my mind about the correct course of action, all I have to do is remember my parents. They walked the talk every day of the week.

    Belleza: absolutely, and whether giving or receiving...

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  6. I have often wondered, with all the yammering and blame in the political arena, how anything gets done. Truth is, not much is getting done these days. At least nothing positive.

    As for minding our own business and tending to our own gardens...amen.