One of the most underrated and difficult to grasp concepts, for me, at least, in terms of growth, is the fact that I have absolutely no control over other people and what they do.
I feel responsible all the time to make sure things are done and done properly, and I have very clear ideas about how to treat others. I don’t like subterfuge and politics. I don’t see a need for drama, save in fiction. Use your big kid words. Calmly. See other people’s perspectives. Try to see the thing from as many angles as possible. Come up with at least one explanation that makes you sit back and think, “Wait. Maybe this isn’t exactly how I thought it was.”
And that works for me, when I can get out of my own head and past the insanity and depression. I’ve never been diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder, but if a compulsive need to play devil’s advocate and offer an alternate way of looking at a thing is part of that, I’m at least kin in spirit.
I don’t defy to defy, though. Being a Nineties grunge kid, I know lots of people who turned their back on anything that became popular, as though mass acceptance made it ultimately rotten, as though it lost all quality because people liked it past a certain threshold. But to me, that’s ridiculous. Wouldn’t you want the things you love to make it big? I want peace on earth; leaving that as a niche market seems counterproductive.
I want love and freedom and the dissolution of bigotry. Open attempts to understand one another. If that were global, I’d be ecstatic.
But I can’t control anyone. Letting that go was easy; it’s obvious. Not feeling responsible for everyone and everything isn’t. I don’t want to tell anyone what to do. I would like to provide an environment where they can make their own decisions, hopefully good ones. I’d like to help.
A lot of people simply don’t care. They’re too caught up in whatever drama or anxiety is playing out in their head to realize it.
Separating empathy and responsibility is something I struggle with every day. I don’t know where the line is, and feeling responsible for all the world’s ills is one of the great tortures in my life.
Target: 900 words
Written: 445 words, novella: The Mungk