Sunday, September 15, 2019

On Being a Compassionate Asshole.

As someone, who at age forty-six, is just starting to come to terms with their self-esteem or even having one for that matter I had always prided myself as being a proper asshole.  Let that sink in, pride in being an asshole?  Because I didn't care about myself, because of the pain I was in I couldn't really be expected to care about anyone else either.  I would compound this pain by getting into volatile relationships or associating with like minded people in order to think that I was OK.  

I always thought my comfort was at the bottom of a Coke can or would be left for me to read as a secret message written in the pattern of pizza grease on the underside of a Myles pizza box.  Certainly Hershey kisses would never judge me no matter how many I ate.

Problems were solved with tools like the "well fuck you then" or the "then get the fuck out of here I don't need you" and other niceties that complete the cycle of self loathing. I always thought the colder the better.

The complete irony here is that I was living my life in a manner that was a complete 180 from how I was raised.  It's true, my all time favorite show was/is Little House on the Prairie.  Yep I said it, Little House.  Everything about this show aligned with the way I had been brought up,  Love, God, and hard work could allow you to accomplish anything.  It was what we were taught and it was certainly how my parents lived their lives.  

My first recollection of Little House was sitting in the modest living room of "Grandma Rocky" who lived behind us.  If ever there was a kinder woman on the planet, (lest my wife of course) I'll never know.  She too embodied the virtues of the Ingalls' and lived by compassion and the proverbial "turn the other cheek".

Here I was attempting to live so far outside of the values I held near and dear.  Looking back it was no wonder my life was so chaotic. 

Through lots of therapy, I have been able to realign my life with my values.  This has also meant that I have disassociated myself with those that were not a positive influence on me. My life is now way more meaningful and I find that I am motivated by personal growth and my own well being more than ever before.

What this means is always trying to take the high road.  Part of the dichotomy that my life once was, was struggling with hurting people I thought I was close to and always doing what is right.  I was both yin and yang. Classy and charming one minute and monster who wished nothing more than to project as much of my pain from me on to you.  Often for no other reason other than I thought that person was wronging me or not living inside the values I held.  That made me a ginormous asshole.

Here I am at age 46 a work in progress.  Twice in the last two weeks I have had someone from a former life resurface as no fault of their own.  One of these people I miss dearly and one not so much. I found myself instantly wanting to step right outside my values, just like old times and deal with these people with a "fuck you" diatribe that would have Josey Wales and William Munny blush.  I was searching for that instant gratification, I wanted them to feel the pain that I have associated with them. 

Then the best thing happened.

My wife, my life long friends and my new found self all said take the high road, turn the other cheek, do what's right, live within your values. While it is true I would have loved to have blown their hair back a little. It would not have helped me.  It may have even triggered a cycle of depressing and self loathing behavior.  It may have triggered me to live outside of the values I know that ground me in my full life.  I am grateful for them for reminding me that I know what is right and I know what is right for me.

In the words of Neil Young I now have a "kinder gentler machine gun hand" (mouth).