With all the blaming and finger pointing in the world right now we need to get something straight. WE ARE ALL ASSHOLES SOMETIMES. We are absolutely not going to make any change on any issue without being able to compassionately self-reflect and find our arse spots. Let’s define asshole here as someone who intentionally or unintentionally does harm.
If every time someone says I’m an asshole I get defensive and argue how I am not, we aren’t getting anywhere. While intention does matter, we also don’t get to use it as an out for acting like a jackass. “I didn’t mean it,” is a weak argument, we must look at the underpinnings of our message and take accountability. “I did mean it,” is at least direct and honest. Let’s also be clear: sometimes it is okay to be dickhead as well. Well placed smack downs with fierce boundaries have their place and sometimes we know it’s gonna hurt.
Acting like an asshole and being an asshole are two different things. I believe there are very few people who are a prick at their core. If you are around those people, those twats who relish behaving like a complete fuckface, stop it, walk away. People who intentionally harm are toxic and you don’t need that bullshit in your life. I believe most people are trying their best with what they’ve got. Most people are loving at heart with good intentions and are ignorant, habitual or wounded and act like dumbshits sometimes, or even god-bless-their-hearts, often. I trust people who readily acknowledge they are a motherfucker sometimes. The ones who deny it are highly suspicious to me. It’s like truly insane people, you typically are not crazy if you wonder if you are. Those who are adamant they are not insane at all, and their reality is the absolute, are the ones you worry about. The truth is: we have all been the one who was an asshole, the one on the receiving end, and the one judging others for being a jerkoff. There is absolutely no self-righteousness in assholery.
There is freedom in claiming: I am an asshole. It can lead to curiosity and ample opportunities to learn and grow. Ironically you can be less of a dolt by making this foundation of assholery an assumption. Free will is more of a free won’t and we can’t make change unless we are aware of our behaviors and can make conscious choices to stop or redirect them. Change is not workable if we willfully put on blinders. This takes ego strength and compassion, we must create kindness in the process of asshat behavior hunting. We have to look at the causes and conditions to make such gregarious dumbass statements and actions.
We must put some systems thinking into this. Much like if you are white, you are a racist. If you are a man, you are a sexist. If you are a human, you are an asshole. It’s the water we swim in culturally with white supremacy, misogyny and basic self-centeredness being baselines of American capitalistic culture. This doesn’t mean that you are personal about it or intentional, this means that the system you belong to is set up that way and unless you are actively being anti-racist, anti-sexist, or anti-asshole you are part of the problem. In other words, unless you are actively practicing kindness with equity, equality and awareness you probably are behaving like a wanker. This can be towards other people, animals, the planet, ourselves. There are lots of ways in the modern world to do harm and be a shit.
I believe most people want to be kind, inclusive, open and accepting. The struggle is, we can’t be these things unless we notice the areas where we are not. Here is the kicker, we don’t get to decide if we cause harm or not, other people do. When it comes to the planet, evidence does, science is the judge. We don’t get to write the story or experience for others, we simply need to listen and respond. I find people are the biggest dipshits when they are triggered. When something is bumping up against their edges of comfort in some way. When their self-schema, worldview, or safety are challenged it is scary. The unknown is scary. People dig their heels in and go for the best defense: an offense. This is when they argue, call names, expound their way, impose their shit, they don’t listen, they lecture. Black and white thinking, right and wrong, rigidity of any kind is a sign of trigger and you are acting like a douchebag.
Some people are sneaky twits and guise their offense as a defense. They are the turds who play victim when they are unwilling or unable to be accountable. You hear things like “I’m sorry you feel that way, I didn’t intend to….” They invalidate your experience and over explain how you misunderstood somehow, that you have no reason to be hurt. Narcissism comes in many forms, both those who make it all about them in overt selfishness and those that make it all about them in martyrdom.
Look, I’m a bastard shithead just like the rest of us at times. I have checked off all of these behaviors at one time or another. I also love to swear, which is goddamn offensive to some. This is where I will say sorry, not sorry. We get to have that too, just be clear. Conservatives, liberals, libertarians, I don’t give a shit what team you are on, we’ve all been a son of a bitch many times. We’ve also all had our feelings hurt many times by some dickhead. Perhaps it is time to call an even playing ground and try to CONNECT with KINDNESS and UNDERSTANDING instead of the adrenalized fuckhead political environment we’ve created through propaganda, memes and fake news on all sides. Perhaps we need to remedy this plague of fuckity fuckedness and admit people are struggling, we all want to be happy and healthy, and get curious about how we can foster a culture of PEACE.
So, stop arguing, stop mocking, stop shaming, criticizing and judging everyone. Start breathing, slow down, ask questions and listen to answers. Start talking to everyone like you would a friend, including yourself. If you find that dialogue is still mean spirited, defensive, overbearing or condescending get some goddamn help, that sounds miserable and lonely. Educate yourself through peer review journals and critical thinking on where your news is coming from. Who benefits from the reports, where are they getting their stats? Stop acting like the world is a sports team that we show up as adversaries and start treating it like we are all neighbors in need. This, my dear friends, is how we combat assholery. It starts with YOU.
Emotions are contagious. When we get called out or hear a different viewpoint, we can either get defensive and angry and attack or we can stay calm and listen. We can also just be a fucking adult and scroll on or walk away to agree to disagree. What do you think will best get your point across or be supportive? We can either join in with the asshat fuckery out there or intentionally disengage and do something different. I don’t know, maybe I am crazy. Maybe cultural kindness not possible. I’d like to think so. Certainly I am trying and learning and willing to put the vulnerability and work in to create a better world. What about you?
May we all sail in peace.
Ps. If I missed any excellent synonyms of asshole please share in the comments!!