I saw someone wearing this shirt yesterday and I thought, “Yea, you’re right!” It’s not hard to figure out why people are mean. Here’s the short answer: They’re hurt. Here’s the long answer: They are very hurt. For them, they see life as one big blow after another. This has cause pain and fear, which causes meanness. Which causes more pain and fear … It’s like a bad Groundhog’s Day movie.
Look, we’ve all been hurt. But we aren’t all mean in our daily lives. Some of us realize that how we write our “story” is within our control and retaliating back in the same way will only make it worse. We all have the capacity to do better.
A typical mean person’s story sounds like this: “I am a victim. People are out to get me. I need to fight back first.” These people hear, “Can you pass the salt?” As an attack on their cooking. They just keep rewriting what they hear rather than looking at it without the color of their pain.
If we react to this type of meanness with cruelty of our own, we get right into behaving just as badly (something I’ve done in the past). Such behavior changes minor skirmishes into wars. In other words, “You’re mean to me or hurt my feelings so I’m going to do the same to you.” These are the most unhealthy interactions in life.
Most mean people also try to build themselves up to feel better. In fact, they think they’re better, more right, more pious, than anyone else. Sadly, they are just the opposite. But we don’t have to be that way. Their “better” ignores the feelings of everyone around them. I’d prefer to not be “better” but to have the freedom to be who I am. I can grow, learn succeed and not at the expense of others.
Mark Twain once wrote, Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. Well said.
I do want to thank the mean people in my life for the following lessons:
- How not to be as a person;
- How being mean will bring you nothing but emptiness – even if your life is filled with people and money … it will still be empty;
- That I choose my reaction and “story” to life’s inevitable blows; and
- That being you mean to me will only cause me to be stronger and you to be weaker and continually hurt.
I also need to thank these mean people for saving me money because to learn these life lessons in therapy would have cost me at least $150+ per hour!
Have an amazing day!