Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mean People - Seen Any Lately?

So, yesterday I said to a friend of mine, jokingly: "You could never be mean to me."  He saw that as a challenge and came back with (also jokingly, I'm sure) "Oh, I could be mean to you but I'm not because you're the mom of my daughter's friend!"  He didn't really get my point.  I didn't mean he couldn't TRY to be mean to me (anyone can do that); I meant that, what some may perceive as a "mean"person, I see a lonely, sad soul who really must be in a very dark place to feel a need to behave in such a way.

I mean, I'VE been mean.  I've been mean!  God bless that little boy in my 4th grade class that nobody gave a Valentine to; he was a "mean" kid.  He stood up and threw his chair.  He always looked a little worse for wear.  He lived in the apartments behind the school.  He had a scar over his eye.  He wasn't terribly kind.  And nobody was terribly kind to him.   I carry that with me every day.*  Not as regret, but as a reminder.  I had an opportunity to be kind and, as I sat at my dining room table filling out my Valentines, I consciously thought, "Should I give one to Cory?  No, I'm not giving one to him.  What would my friends think?"  I remember it like yesterday.  Another time, there was a new girl in my office (I was a grown up!) and she seemed a bit...daft, I believe was my take on her at the time.  Did I show her compassion?  Show the new girl the ropes?  Nope.  I was short with her and, sometimes, downright rude!  And I'm sure others can recall throughout my life many other times I was just real a**  (which is why I often greet people from years ago with "Hey!  How are you?  I'm sorry I was such a jerk."  

Am I a bad person?  I don't think so.  Can I be mean?  Of course.  Everybody can be mean.  Everybody has their moments.  EVERYBODY has a bad day.  I feel blessed/lucky that I can look back on those times and think "I was such a jerk!  I'm so glad that's not people's take away from me."  At least...I hope they don't.  Not because I would look bad, but because that means they carry with them some of that negativity I put out in the world.  And that would be truly sad.  

That negativity, that darkness, comes in many forms but it's all the same darkness.  When you "fight" aggression with aggression, what do you get?  A big frickin' mess.  Anger and pride are two things that stand in the way of compassion.  And when you are actively unkind, you are allowing in that same darkness that consumes "mean" people.  You are taking on part of their darkness.  I have a friend who will say about someone he does't like: "I'm not mean to them.  I'm just not going to waste kindness on a jerk like that."  Maybe it's just me, but first of all, I don't think kindness is ever wasted because it's not about how it's received that is of any concern to me, but the fact that I put kindness out there in the first place.  And secondly, he doesn't come away feeling good, he comes away feeling bad. Or indifferent.  And when we are indifferent, we are building walls, not bridges.  

I've hear people say about a "mean person: "She doesn't deserve kindness."  Says who?  I've never understood the word "deserve".  Does someone deserve to win the lottery any more than I deserve to have MS?  Life's not about deserving.  Like the quote I had on my FB profile yesterday: "Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth 'You owe me'.  Look what happens with a love like that.  I lights the whole sky."  The only thing I can think that we honestly deserve - as humans sharing relatively tight living space - is compassion.  That is what builds.  

So, if you must be mean to me, be mean to me.  That darkness inside of you has nothing to do with me.  No, I didn't make you feel this way, any more than you made me feel this way; you got to that darkness all by yourself.  But I will do my best to show you kindness, show you light.  It is only with light that the darkness can be penetrated.  Will you let in my light?  Into your darkness?  I don't know.  What you do with it is your responsibility.  Letting my light shine is mine.  

Post Script: But if a person is mean with a weapon? Pray for them and then run like hell!!! 

*(I've often thought of contacting him and apologizing to him and imagining it being like that Adam Sandler movie when Adam calls a guy and apologizes for being a jerk in school and when he hangs up the guy take him off his "people I want to kill" list!)

For another point of view on this check out this link:

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