Friday, November 28, 2008

Other People's Egos

This is a bit of a tangent, relative to what I usually write about in my blog, but I feel compelled to share what I heard on the radio this morning. Every Friday on Kool FM, they play a game of Family Feud. The poll is from people who fill out the Kool Advisory Council Survey, to rate the music they play. The contestant, in this case a woman, has to give 3 of the top 5 answers in order to win the prize. Today's question was "What is your worst habit?". The contestant has to give the answers one at a time, and in between the radio hosts comment and repeat the question. This contestant made a point of saying, before each of her three answers (swearing, smoking, biting nails), "This is not my habit", "not my habit either", and "this drives me absolutely nuts". It annoyed the hell out of me that she had to protest, in front of each habit, that it was not HER habit. It was so self-righteous. The hosts even made a point of saying, after the second answer, that they would all assume that none of these habits belonged to her (so she would stop saying that). Afterwards, they asked her what her habit was. She didn't say anything at first, so they suggested that it was "denial". Then she said she drank a lot of coffee. Personally I think her worst habit is protesting too much. That or excessive impression management. I don't know why this got under my skin so much, but obviously since I'm still thinking about it and compelled to write about it, her attitude pisses me off. Maybe subconsciously I feel defensive because I do all three of the 'habits' she mentioned, but I don't consider swearing a bad habit, it is a vocabulary choice. I wish I could give this lady a wake up call, so she could be more self-aware. What motivated her to so strongly disidentify with bad habits? Does she think she's better than the rest of us? The hosts were nice about it, but made some comments subtly implying that even they noticed her superiority complex. So is it arrogance or insecurity? Who is she trying to impress? If any of her friends recognized her on the radio, they would already know she didn't swear, smoke, or bite her nails. The rest of us couldn't care less. As a matter of fact, I think less of her now then if she'd admitted to being human and having a bad habit. Her efforts back-fired if she was trying to be likeable. She's offended everyone who does one of these things, which is probably most of us. If her goal was to convince herself of her righteousness, well maybe she did succeed. Trouble is, she has to keep acting like this to keep convincing herself. It is much more likeable and relaxing to just admit you are human.

I may be calling the pot black here as I sit here analyzing some stranger in a somewhat public place. My own ego is asserting its superiority in a 'backdoor' kind of way. Is ignorance any less of a pet peeve for me as nail-biting is for this woman? At least I am not claiming to be a saint. Whatever. I may be making an ass out of myself and being intolerant by writing this, but so be it.

After re-reading this post, I can see there is a bit of projection going on. This woman was being very judgemental, and I hate how judgemental I can be. Am I trying to disown it? I don't know. I have done a lot of work to loosen up the critical voice inside me. It doesn't attack me anymore, but I don't know if it continues to attack others. I have this intuition that I'm not really judging this woman, just writing about something that bugs me. Maybe I'm judging the behaviour I see, maybe I am judging ignorance. That's probably just as unenlightened. It is still difficult for me to switch to a compassionate mind-set when dealing with this kind of thing. There's always the question of what this woman is suffering that makes her act this way. Then again, pitying someone because of their ignorance probably isn't really compassion either. I readily admit I need a whole lot more work on compassion. When it comes to getting the "nothingness/suchness", I'm there, but compassion is very difficult for me. Which makes sense, considering the way I was treated without compassion when I was a child. I think that's one thing my mother still doesn't have either. However 'nice lady-ish' she is, I have never heard her say anything truly compassionate. She doesn't give one thought to anything outside her little monkeysphere, not the environment, not the starving and wretched around the world, nothing. Hell she doesn't even care about the suffering of her own daughter. When it comes to suffering, her head is fully in the sand. *sigh* Why does everything always come back to her. Well I know the answer to that. When am I ever going to be free of the effects of Mother?

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I sometimes write things that I don't really mean or believe. These are not to be taken literally, nor as definitive statements about me or my beliefs. Thoughts and emotions are transient, and I reserve the right to change my mind, generalize, exaggerate, give strong opinions, or write other possibly offensive statements. I don't lie, but I may say something that's not true to check whether I believe it or not, or to make a point. Call it creative license. This is my blog, and do have the right to say what I want. I'm using it in creatively therapeutic ways. Whatever the reader may think of me and my words, please believe that my core intentions are always good and I never willingly hurt anyone.