Book of You

Here’s what gets me through most days: The basic understanding that not everyone has received the Book of Sizzle and even if they have, most of them have not bothered to read it.

See, most of us operate under the assumption that there is a “common courtesy code.” But there is no such a thing as “common.” Forget common. Once you let go that such a concept exists, I promise you will not be as constantly disappointed in other people as you might be right now. You might think you know how everyone should behave because it’s just “common sense” but your version of common sense is not the same as other people. This does not make you wrong. No. But it also does not make you right.

Let me tell it to you this way. . . you know how sometimes you get cut off on the road by some driver and you immediately let out a slew of expletives indicating what they should do (go fuck themselves) and what their mother should have named them (Douchecanoe or Mr. Fuckface) andΒ  then you flip the bird and assume their slight was intentional. They MEANT to be an asshole. To you! How dare they!? So you stew in your anger and righteous indignation and it puts you in a bad mood. And it’s totally their fault!

But maybe. . .work with me on this. . .they didn’t mean it? Maybe they are late to meet someone for a job interview and they’ve been unemployed for 5 months so a lot is riding on it. Maybe they don’t feel well and their baby was up all night screaming with the coup. Maybe they are distracted because their mom is in the hospital. I seriously think about all these what ifs and my heart softens. Because I have NO IDEA where they are at, just like they don’t know where I am at. That’s the place I come from. Even if I let the road rage spew out or I feel angry, I still think that they probably didn’t mean it. So I give them the benefit of the doubt and move on.

Let’s take a collective deep breath.

{BREATHE IN}

{BREATHE OUT}

Of course there are plenty of fellow humans who are assholes and cultivate their assholeness on purpose. Forget them. They are not worth the bother. Because if you let them get to you, all you are doing is riling yourself up in these situations. There is no “teaching” another person a lesson, especially a stranger. I don’t care how good it might feel momentarily to rip them a new one, you’ll be the one still stewing in your bad feelings minutes, hours, days, years later. Go to your higher self. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Move on from it.

Let it go.

I’ve had numerous conversations with friends about this concept. I get that not everyone is going to buy into it. We’re conditioned to assume the worst in people. It takes diligent practice not to do that. And really, when you examine it, it’s a rather self-serving mindset because when you think in these terms very few people or situations can really ever best you. Bonus!

As a controlling person, I struggle with this because I want people to operate under my will. I want people to stop making possible things impossible. I want people to behave in a manner that I see as fitting. But don’t you see? I can want that stuff but I will be disappointed 98% of the time. So I turn the tables on my demanding ego. And I swear, I feel better about life and myself and the human race for doing so.

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53 thoughts on “Book of You

  1. I am totally with you on this and life is so much easier. I just get out of their way and let them move on in their rush or whatever. My husband, OTOH, oh good Lord. It’s a mess. He’s all “they must understand the very WRONGNESS of their actions!” and flashes his lights and gets all riled up. What is the damn point of that? He makes me all tense and spazzy when I’m driving with him.

    Anyway, yes. LET IT GO. Good point.

  2. Best. Post. EVER. Seriously, brilliant.

    It’s too bad that some of the people who could most benefit from this wisdom will not see how it applies to themselves.

    Does Amazon carry The Book of Sizzle? :o)

  3. Daniel and I look at things this way and I think it makes us happier, less stressed, healthier people. I have a friend who thinks we’re pushovers and are just too nice to strangers – and I always tell her maybe she’s too harsh. And really, how great would it be if we all attempted to put ourselves in other peoples shoes and didn’t rush to assume the worst about people and their actions/motivations?

  4. There’s a bus strike here. I’ve been known to fall into road rage more than once. I think I need this to force myself to stop and chill out.

  5. Agreed. Since we can’t possibly know the motivations behind their actions, I think it’s wise to just adopt that live-and-let-live mentality.

    Nothing wrong with being positive. Nothing at all.

    Great post.

  6. And here I thought I was the only one who did this. See, I have a controlling personality too and I found out long ago that forgiving people for things makes my life so much better. I think I would have committed suicide commuting an hour and half every day had I not changed my outlook.

    Now when something happens of the assholery sort I concoct an elaborate reason why the person wronged me and suddenly I feel sorry for them and forgive them and wish them well because certainly things must be bad for someone to commit that sort of assholery to me.

    But, you know, now that I write that, it seems self righteous in its own right. But, I suppose if it makes me banish the hatred and blame from my life then so be it.

    Anyway, great post!

  7. I guess to me, if a person didn’t mean to cut someone off or be aggressive on the road, they usually wave to apologize when the horn is honked or when they suddenly slam on their breaks in the crosswalk just before they plow into your kneecaps. Or, at least, that’s what I do. If they wave, then I’m totally cool. If not, then I feel the need to release some expletives b/c it’s not like they can hear me anyway. I see it as a form of venting that I do whenever people are rude in other situations (no, I don’t scream out in a restaurant, but I will at least vent to Ted quietly or once we’re back in the car).

  8. I just want to clarify that I am in no way saying don’t get mad or swear in your car or whatever but what I AM saying is don’t hold onto it.

    I agree with Becky, a wave does a lot to soften my heart.

  9. Wow, this is interesting that you bring this up, because I’ve been recently dealing with a few people who’s behaviour just completely baffled me.
    And I am not talking about something ambiguous like being cut off on the road.

    I mean, behaviour that makes you go “Huh?” because you can’t believe someone close to you would behave/say something like that.

    Is it ok, in your opinion, to bring it up with them or also “let it go”.
    I just have a hard time believing that there is no “common sense” at all.

  10. This is a great post.
    I, too, am a very controlling person and have been known on several occasions to rant about common sense and decency and consideration, etc.
    This is my year of Let Go. Deep breath in while thinking lettttt, deep breath out while thinking gooooooo. And then I’m over it. Well, most of the time I’m not over it but I tell myself I have to be over it or else I will give myself a heart attack before I reach 30.

  11. This is so exactly right. Letting it go is so crucial. I’ve been trying so hard to teach myself that lesson. Sometimes I’m good at it–even if it’s as simple as simply apologizing even though I have an explanation or dropping an argument even though I know I’m right. It’s almost always better to just drop it. Not always, but often.

  12. See, I was planning on publishing The Book of Fella: A Simple Guide to Living in His World and handing out copies on the street, but actually this way makes more sense. πŸ˜‰

  13. It takes a strong and disciplined person to be able to do that. We live in a very “me” oriented society….thinking mostly of ourselves. I shamefully admit when a situation like that happens to me, I always think it was on purpose and out of rudeness, not giving any thought to what circumstances they must be dealing with. You’ve given me something to think about though!

  14. I have been working so hard to remember that not everyone has my book either. I mean, seriously, I get all pissy and douchey because someone has affronted me and yet, they never had the rule book. This was done to me twice last year by the same woman. One day she loved me so so so much and the next she was mad at me for not doing something that I had no idea was even a thing for her.

    The other day, when I cut someone off and could see them waving their middle fingers and cussing at me, I thought, “Doesn’t he know what I’m going through right now?”.

    Perspective.

  15. I struggle with this concept, but I believe in it as well. It’s just so hard, when other people are so shitty… and you are a considerate person. It makes you wonder why they can act like that… and you can’t.

  16. You’re a cool lady, Sizzle. I can’t begin to count the number of times that I’ve accidently cut someone off in my car or forgot a birthday because I was distracted by personal issues – we all need some grace. Everyone is running on their own belief system – or as I like to call it, B.S. Challenging our perspectives, putting our ego on the back burner – that’s the healthiest thing we can do for our soul. Like writing, it comes easier with practice.

  17. I needed to read this today. Hell, I needed to read it 2 weeks ago.
    Thanks for a brillant and thought provoking post.

  18. I think road rage is a right to life.
    On the other hand, I live by the rule that common sense is not always common.

    I try to live life as an open book, everyone usually knows what’s on my mind and how I feel. I used to close things up and keep to myself but I found I was not a good person then.

    Also, try to believe in karma. It makes me feel better when I think someone that is not learning a lesson will soon do so by their own actions.

  19. You are so right, there is no common “common sense” amongst us all, and the best way to deal with it is to give people the benefit of the doubt and let things go.

  20. Thank goodness you flagged me on FB to read this post. You’re right. It’s a good one. And while I’m not sure I agree that other people aren’t careless and cruel on purpose, I do agree there’s no use getting riled up over it and we cannot teach those people a lesson.

  21. i totally get where you are coming from. i dont dwell on traffic stuff, or other things people do, mainly after i read this essay once written by someone who spoke about how everyone sees the world from their own perspective.
    everyone sees themselves as the centre of the world- because, well, literally, they ARE the centre of their own world, and their eyes only see it from their way.
    so while i might be annoyed at someone who does something, they only see it from their way.
    if that makes sense

  22. One of my all time favorite quotes (and one I have to remind myself often) is, “You are not the main character of this story.”
    Great post. πŸ™‚

  23. I am definitely a “benefit of the doubt person”. Probably not 100% of the time (because there is always room for improvement), but I genuinely believe that most people do not indend to do/say things that are offensive/annoying. I should know, I stick my foot in my mouth all the time. However, I do get annoyed by drivers and often say “stupid idiot” or “fucking idiot” to myself in the car. No flips and no agressive car responses just annoyed expressions if you’re looking close.
    I need to be careful with the comments to myself because once I managed to say “fucking idiot” while I had my mom on the speaker phone. Super embarrassing because my mom said “what did you just say?”
    That said, Mr. Fuckface might just be my new favorite under-the-breath comment.

  24. Both the idea and the practice of letting go are very liberating.

    Also, “…what their mother should have named them…” I’m afraid I’m going to have to think about this now. It never occurred to me, which is odd.

  25. But. But. People are such assholes!! No, you’re totally right, and this is something I try to remind myself of constantly even though it’s completely against my nature. Great post!

  26. I really do try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I guess my problem is just with the people who really are assholes.

  27. My husband has a thing about patience (he’s better at it than I am) and he always tells me “don’t ‘should’ on people” — because I am forever saying things like “well, she should have just done this and then that wouldn’t have happened!” But you can’t ‘should’ on people, because you can’t control them and trying to only frustrates YOU. I totaly get where you’re coming from. You should totally teach a seminar. πŸ˜‰

  28. Absolutely adore this post. I totally “get” this mindset, although sometimes I wonder if I take it too far the other way and don’t recognize when someone is actively cultivating their asshole-ism. I give second chances to the point of being ridiculous when I care about someone. Perhaps finding that happy medium should be on my life of intentions. Again, fantastic post.

  29. Great post. I just returned from a month in Indonesia, a country with few, narrow roads and scajillions of motorbikes intermixed with much bigger SUVs. You would assume this is a recipe for hyper-pressure-cooker road rage, but I was struck by the complete absence of road rage and also accidents. They absolutely do not use their vehicles like weapons, as we see so often here. The most communication between drivers there is a quick and courteous quick toot of the horn to indicate their desire to pass alongside, which was always yielded without any furter ado. I never witnessed any altercation, and all Indonesians I asked about this shrugged this off. I guess when tolerance becomes the norm everyone’s blood pressure goes down :=) Thanks for the important reminder to breathe, and I concur that “douchecanoe” is the best swear bomb I’ve heard in forever!

  30. I, too, operate under the assumption that people mean no harm or ill will. If they work hard enough to prove me wrong, then I deal with them politely but as little as possible. Just makes life easier with this assumption.

  31. I love this post. I think people mean well and yes, there are a few bad apples, but most people are good. Like you I think about those things we just can’t know and give my fellow jerk the benefit of the doubt.

  32. I think this is very similar to the concept of forgiveness in that it takes the burden off of YOU. And I also think it is a much healthier way to behave. We just need to start practicing it more to make it more of a habit.

  33. I try to do this… how well I do it depends on so many other factors, all of which I have control over, I just have to remember to pay attention to them regularly. Part of my problem is that I spend so much time in my head I sort of forget the outside world exists.

  34. i love this. i think this same way and for that reason, cannot grasp why my husband and others get SO mad when driving. i know, this applies to all points of life though. the “look at what they are doing to me and KNOW that they are doing” mentality can take years off of your life! i’m convinced of it!

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