Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tribute to Andy Rooney

Well, it's not really a tribute, but I did want to start this one by saying, "Have you ever noticed that...."

Have you ever noticed that it's very difficult to find people who are genuinely happy for you when something good happens? And even more difficult to find people who actually want you to succeed and be happy in the first place?

After living for more than two decades, and living for long periods of time in very different parts of the U.S., I have found that not only are most people happy when you fail, but a lot of them will deliberately put obstacles in your way to ensure that you will fail, or at least have a much harder time succeeding. These can take the form of discouraging put-down remarks, or spreading false rumors, and sabotaging work that you have put your heart and soul into. Other ways they can try to facilitate your demise is by gaining your trust and then using what you say against you, or by maliciously respresenting themselves at first as people who support you and want the best for you. We usually find out the hard way that first impressions can be deceiving.

Why does this happen? Why do people who claim to care about you want so desperately for you to fail? Or more accurately, to not be as successful as they believe they are?

I've come up with a few reasons that I've experienced in my life. One huge and obvious reason is jealousy. No matter what good things these people have in their lives, someone else always has it better. They focus on what they don't have, instead of seeing all of the miracles and blessings that are so plentiful in their own lives. When that happens, everyone around them is a threat to their happiness, and even the smallest or simplest of successes of others are met with disdain or indifference.

Another reason, of course, is their beliefs in their own shortcomings. They feel so rotten about themselves, often to their very core, and are unable to detach themselves from those feelings of inadequacy to experience anything joyful or congratulatory for or with someone else. I have seen that if someone feels that they don't measure up, then anyone who measures higher just reinforces their sense of inequality and debasement.

Two additional reasons I have personally experienced: self-centeredness and narrow vision. Some people, make that a LOT of people, are honestly incapable of focusing their full attention on anything but themselves. They perpetually live inside their own heads and are disconnected from reality most of the time. We all know many people like this. At best, all they can ever do is half-listen or half-participate in what is going on around them. They are so caught up in their own imagined drama that they are unable to deal with anything else. In some cases they may genuinely want to. But they don't know how to break the chains that enslave them to their own narcissism and delusions.

But really, no matter what the reason is, no matter what the situations were that caused these people to be like this, they ARE like this, even though we wish they weren't. Often times we resign ourselves to have to put up with these people, to the detriment of our own souls and spirits.

Unfortunately, in my life and in my travels, I have known exponentially more negative and unsupportive people than upbeat, encouraging ones. I have come across many more people who go into relationships with an agenda, which is never in the other person's favor. Quite frankly, I've known more mean people than nice ones, I've met more vindictive people than trustworthy ones, and I've known more selfish people than generous ones. In every place I've lived.

To be honest, I have spent a lot of time labeling these people as jerks, and blaming them for their inconsideration and often nasty attitudes. But do you know who I should have been blaming all this time? Myself. For allowing myself to form allegiances and friendships with these people. For not having enough inner strength and confidence to insist that I not be treated this way. For actually thinking those people were going to be there for me, help me, and celebrate my successes with me, when time and again they were incapable of doing so.

Well, all I can say is, NO. MORE. I heard someone say recently that if a person doesn't lift you up they don't belong in your life. I would add to that, if a person not only doesn't lift you up but takes pride in pushing you down, they don't belong anywhere even near your life! I would rather have very few friends, who believe in me, support me, and stay true to their word than lots of "friends" who take delight in my failures. Or who sabotage my work. Or who pull the rug of trust out from under me on a regular basis. Enough is enough.

For those of you who have already learned this lesson, I applaud you and admire you. For those of you who haven't yet, I encourage you to get on it! Life is too short to settle for anything less than you deserve, especially from people who claim to care about you. You deserve to be treated like the beautiful, special, unique, fascinating, successful miracle of life that you are, and nothing less. Absolutely nothing less.

To quote the late Andy Rooney: "I'm always on the lookout for the good in people. Often months go by." Well sir, I hope you are finding lots of good in the people around you now. Rest in peace.

1 comment:

  1. We need to get you a regular gig ... as a columnist. Seriously, these blog posts of yours are so incredibly well done, so expressive, and beautifully written. You knock it out of the park every time.

    Keep on doing what you're doing, my friend.