“You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible.”
– Russian author Anton Chekhov –
The single most daunting thing about becoming an adult is knowing that people suck 90-percent of the time and realizing that you still have to rely on them and/or want them in your life.
Of course, that 90-percent includes me, and most of you, too. If you’re one of the 10-percent who doesn’t suck, go ahead and stop reading. You’re probably doing something awesome like volunteering in a homeless shelter or donating some “Toys for Tots” or some other philanthropic venture anyway. After all, that’s what you do: non-sucky things.
Me? I try, I really do. I want to be a better person. I want to give more of my time and energy to others. I want to bang the drums for social justice and I want to trumpet from the highest mountaintops my obvious and undeniable love for all people, places, and things. Want to. Don’t.
Why? Because I suck and I am not worth most people’s time. I know it, I accept it and even though I hate it, I fear I’m past a point of no-return for most people. It will take a certain and very special character to keep up with me.
To put up with me might be a more appropriate statement. I’m obnoxious. I’m selfish. I’m self-centered and more often than not I’m lazier than the average person. I don’t like to do things for other people; I like to do things for myself. I hate not getting what I want, even if I know what isn’t right for me or good for me or whatever.
But when I do care about someone? Watch out. It’s overbearing. It’s emphatic. It’s 100mph and if you’re not ready for it, it can be devastating to watch me spin out of control. To me, not you. You’re sitting back, laughing betwixt head shakes asking yourself “Is this dude serious?”
(You do that because you suck, just to be clear.)
I give of myself wholly from the first minute I recognize that someone is worth any of my time. One of the most accurate and almost “whoa” things I’ve ever heard about love is from the movie Wedding Crashers, which is, as most of you know, widely regarded as one of our generation’s greatest love stories.
“True love is your soul’s recognition of its counterpoint in another.”
If, even for a moment, you recognize that counterpoint, are we not almost obligated to pursue it? I recognize the recklessness in that thought, I’d have to be a pretty big idiot not to, but at some point we – the feckless – have to throw caution to the wind, do we not? So what if it fails and fades? What if, just once, it doesn’t? Isn’t it worth it?
I’ve never had a problem getting to know people superficially. I am quick to pick up on what matters to people in conversation and can generally avoid the things they’d rather avoid. I give enough of myself to appear welcoming and in doing so can typically get people to open up to me, too. It’s a “gift” I guess. However, as I’ve gotten older and realize more about how much I suck, one of my greatest fears is that if I truly let someone beyond the superficial aspects of me (which are absolutely awesome, by the way) they will discover the truth about how much I suck. What a vicious and ugly circle.
I want affection, I want love, I want to give it, I give it. Then, I ruin it because I don’t want to give too much, or I want to give too much, and then I retreat, or they do.
Good job, Jeremy, you’ve failed a fundamental human experience in a completely breathtaking fashion.
I understand that the biggest reason I don’t trust people is because I’ve been untrustworthy myself, and that’s crippled me time after time in my past relationships. That will cripple me in my future relationships if I let it, and that’s absolutely my natural inclination. Fear, push away, lie, hide, create secrets and live in my bubble where the way I’ve been treated or treated others can’t make me feel things. Feelings are icky!
Yes, Jeremy, they sure are. Unfortunately, in this life, I’ve got two choices: feel (icky!) and risk being made a mockery of or prepare myself for a life of meaningless relationships that never edify me, that never challenge me or say to me “Get better! Suck less!”
I have to trust because that’s what makes life worth living. I have to trust not only to the point where someone lets me down, but past that. Forgiving a violation of trust means nothing – nothing – without absolution. To continue to hold on to each and every hurt that anyone has done to me, and to use it as justification for further reclusiveness is hurting me, not them. Especially because most of the people who have affected me are never going to be in my life again.
Love me or hate me. Break my heart or discard it before it becomes a concern of yours, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to give myself to the idea of trust, to the idea of love.
That starts with trusting myself and with loving myself enough to stand up for what I want, and more importantly, what I deserve.
It may not always make sense to everyone else, hell, most of the time it doesn’t make sense to me, but that doesn’t diminish it. There’s no timeline for happiness. When you see it, grab it and if it matters to you, fight for it.