The lame excuse of high school break ups contains enormous truth. If only we believed it. It struck me recently how convinced we are of the opposite.
It starts when we are kids. Our parents come to our rescue if anything in the world says we aren’t perfect. It is really hard not to do this with my own kids. If something happens clearly it must be the other kid’s fault, because my kids are angels (this is in fact a true statement). I have to tell my kid they are perfect and why the other kid is wrong, right? It’s interesting how it is entirely different if the conflict is with a brother or sister. I automatically assume that if you’re crying you probably had something to do with the whole situation.
By the time we get to college we’ve come to believe it’s not us, it’s the professor. How many times have I seen students who complain the professor didn’t remind them enough about X, Y or Z:
“Was it on the syllabus?”
“So they just didn’t mention it in class?”
“Well no, they did, but…”
Or my all time favorite, “The professor seems to show favoritism to those who did the reading.” No kidding?
It only gets worse as adults. In my line of work I know a lot of people who believe we are at war. A political/cultural war that consumes the waking hours of many of them. Whether it is the Fox News junkies, the Dittoheads or whatever the Laura Ingram audience calls itself many of them believe they have THE truth and that they only need to destroy the evil enemy in order to establish world peace. We need to attack!
We are at war. But we seem to have forgotten that the war is not with 'THEM'. The war we are in is only with ourselves. The very moment I think I’m fine and that I don’t need to get better, I’ve lost the war. We forget that annoying truth that we are supposed to love everyone else (our brothers and sisters) and not declare war against 'THEM'. Of course it’s still hard because even if you embrace this mindset you can’t hope the person you’re apologizing to does. And damn it that is frustrating.
It’s not you, it’s me, especially if I’m mad at you.