Ugly and Unkind.

 

Brutal honesty here.

So tonight I realized that I have an ugly and unkind heart. Well, being charitable, maybe it’s more of an ugly and unkind streak in an otherwise earnest and hopeful heart. At least, I’d like to think so.

How did I learn this awful truth?

I saw a social media post from an individual who was reaching out humbly for some support, not knowing where else to turn.  The person was one whom I knew in passing and observation.  Not personally…because for one reason or another –  I can’t really recall – I never cared for that person, so I began to regard them with disdain.

It started with dismissal and light mockery in my head and a nickname I bestowed (I thought it was witty) when talking to my friend.  I think I just found the person an odd bird at first, and then pretty soon, our limited interaction served only to confirm my self-fulfilling thoughts.  At that point, anything that was said or done just added weight to my opinion.  Without any understanding, armed only with my assumptions, I was pretty smug.  And so it was easy to write this individual off or use them as a punchline.  I got a lot of mileage out of it.

So then tonight happened.

And it was then I realized that this was a real person with a story, and I was a petty, self-righteous hypocrite. I wouldn’t be able to live up to my own standards, and yet I felt comfortable judging someone for — what, exactly?  Being different.  But aren’t we all?  I let my initial impression morph into something ugly and unkind, and I went along for the ride.  In my imagination, I’d already written some backstory that fit in with what I thought I already knew, which was mostly my creation.  I never realized how far I let it go until now.

I’m sure it took a lot to ask for help.  Most of us have too much pride for that, don’t we?  And it’s easy to judge a person who offers up too much information, laying themselves bare and open like that.  Too needy.  Attention whore. But I still believe that it took courage for them to ask, knowing they could easily be humiliated.

It put a lump in my throat, quite actually.

I’ve been judged and I’ve been misjudged. I’ve been mocked and dismissed and treated ‘less than.’ And I didn’t like it, and I didn’t deserve it, and yet here I am puking it out of my own mouth. Shame on me.

Wretched.

My mother’s words are in my head:  You are not perfect, either.

She’s right, of course.

And I’m sorry.  I pledge to start fresh and extend a hand to this person in some way. The post has received a lot of positive response from others, and I am glad to see that.  I am ashamed that mine is not among them.  I have to work on my own heart and mind before I can reach out to that person, but I will, you can be certain of that. Because I just saw myself in a mirror and I don’t like what I saw.

In closing, I leave you with this:

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
Dalai Lama

 

 

 

image credit AhmadHammoud

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StuckonZero

StuckonZero

Aging like a fine wine. ;-)

13 thoughts on “Ugly and Unkind.”

  1. Another zinger. None of us like looking into the mirror we hold up for others. We point out in others what we most dislike in ourselves. Thank you.

    1. Thank you. I have my own little picture in my head of how I think I am, how I try to be, and then something like this reminds me that I, too, am human and flawed.
      Kindness can be difficult, but it is always worthwhile, and I need to make it my default.

  2. I’m a cynic, and I will say that I do get tired of people always putting their hands out in this day and age. I see it on Facebook, and I do get disgusted. I have seen people asking for help to pay basic medical bills, merely because they want to do a holistic treatment which isn’t covered by their medical insurance. So, yes, it irks me. Do I think that makes me a bad person to feel that way? No, I don’t.

    People are going to judge me. Maybe they’ll even judge me for this comment, and I don’t care. There’s a difference between people who have an actual need, and those who see an easy way to get something, and you can usually tell the difference pretty easily. The “give me a handout” attitude has become all too familiar in this day and age.

    Excuse me while I go start a gofundme to pay for my tummy tuck.

    1. I tend to agree with your assessment. And no, not a bad person to feel that way.
      The support that was requested in this case was emotional – just reaching out for someone to talk to and be friends with. The person was going through difficult times and no family lives nearby. The post said they’d lived in many places as part of a military family, but in this area they’d had a tougher time than usual making friends.
      But yes, I see way too much of the funds requests. I have helped folks for many different reasons, but if you just want me to pay for your wedding or take care of things you should be doing for yourself, I can’t justify that. You’re right that you can usually tell the difference if someone has a true need. 🙂

  3. Very straight forward and truthful stuff Becky. Thank you for your honesty. Recreating ourselves is an adventure and sometimes scary when we see what we don’t like, in ourselves. Recent book choices (I’m listening to audio books) have really brought my head around to see so many things differently. Reducing knee-jerk judgmental thoughts has been a benefit from these books. One goal has been to only speak and think positively…and when any unfavorable thoughts creep in, I deliberately spin 180 out and flood my head with everything I’m thankful for in my life.
    “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson just came to me as I was writing this…
    Making a change? Me too.

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