I used to think following my P’s & Q’s, minding my manners, being seen and not heard like all good children, were the only ways to go. Be the best Catholic girl, daughter, sister, student, employee, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, pet owner, gardener, or whatever hat I happen to be wearing at any given moment. I am still struggling with all of these. I’ve fallen short on some and given up altogether on others. There is no way I can be all those things without me, myself, and I becoming adrift in an ocean of other’s expectations. Trying to be what everyone thinks you should be or how you should act to fit into their vision of what’s proper in society can be an immense strain over a lifetime; however I earnestly make an effort to maintain an empathetic approach to life. For some of us empathy is innate, for others developed over time, but I believe it is most important. What is on-target for one person’s social structure is not the same for someone else’s and can actually be 50 shades of gray completely in the other direction. There are certain norms we can all agree on, however, and those are traditionally made law because the public-at-large cannot be trusted to always do the right thing. The golden rule is and will forever be the gold standard of behavior.
Overwhelming evidence points to many people being in their own headspace doing their own thing to the point of believing whatever they’re doing is the right thing and often the only thing that matters in the whole world. Justification of ones own actions is what makes the world go round in its sanctioned insanity. How else do you explain the guy who cuts you off in traffic, takes the parking space at Walmart you’ve been waiting for patiently, tries to butt in line at Starbucks because they’re late for work, worms their way to situate themselves closer to the stage at a Pibull concert cutting in front of those having gotten there early to save their spot. Putting your wants and needs above others is becoming more and more the norm. Grab for the brass ring, fight your way to the top, do not accept no for an answer, what you want you have to go out and get it. You, you, you. So it’s not hard to believe there is a created culture of justified behavior or what I’ve termed justifried behavior. Because we can usually determine when an excuse has been cooked-up.
We all have the ability to justify our actions in some way or another. I didn’t do my homework because I was tired or the dog ate it. Neither of those excuses are probably true, but you have convinced yourself that it is an authentic reason why you didn’t accomplish your task repeating it with the utmost confidence it will be believed by those you tell. This is an example on the simplest and lowest end of the spectrum. Others can see through us way before we do.
Every level of behavior up to the most horrid is self-condoned by the perpetrator. After all, it’s something I felt like doing so; therefore, it must be alright. I know enough from my place in this world to realize others will not like what I did; so I will then figure out a way to hide my behavior or cover it up in some way. I’ve seen enough true crime stories and documentaries in my life to know this fact. Who hasn’t seen MSNBC’s Lockup where the guy who brutally murdered his family member sits with the film crew and calmly explains what he was thinking at the time he acted on impulse and performed the dastardly deed? It usually is conveyed in a matter-of-fact emotionless way where the prisoner has justified the horrible act they have committed in their own minds, compartmentalized it, and are now coming clean to try to explain it to us. He’s thinking once they hear the truth, they’ll understand why I am not an evil monster. It’s just something I did, and doesn’t really affect who I really am as a human. And by the way, the food in this prison is awful and my cellmate stinks. The result is (usually for me, anyway) painfully clear this person is pure evil or evil on some level when they did whatever they’re attempting to minimalize. Telling us what we want to hear is a rehearsed script morphing into sincere truth to the storyteller. Factor in drugs or alcohol and a culture of deviant insanity has been created by this person. “He’s out of his mind,” we exclaim succinctly. That’s it; end of story. He or she is out of their mind is the only way we can explain it. Actually the more accurate statement would be, “They are in their dang mind!” Their mind is the only important psyche here. The only mind mattering to this lawless demented person in the stark interview room before us slouched on a straight-backed chair in an orange jumpsuit is theirs.
Apart from extreme examples of the worst-case scenarios, everyone seems to be in their own world where they believe whatever they’re doing is the right thing and often the only thing that matters in the whole world. Justification of ones own actions is what makes the world go round in its sanctioned insanity. How else do you explain the guy who cuts you off in traffic, takes the parking space at Walmart you’ve been patiently waiting for, tries to butt in line at Starbucks because they’re late for work, worms their way to place themselves closer to the stage at a Pitbull concert cutting in front of those having gotten there early to save their spot. Putting your wants and needs above others is becoming more and more the norm. Grab for the brass ring, fight your way to the top, do not accept no for an answer, what you want you have to go out and get. You, you, you. So it’s not hard to believe there is a created culture of justifried behavior.
Being a nice person, treating others as you would yourself, looking beyond your own thoughts, words, and deeds, to consider others and their feelings, circumstances, and predicaments is what makes a great society hum. The majority understand this, but for those who don’t, expectations are low for their stepping up to the plate of empathy and reason. Please go out and be a hummingbird today. Show your true colors, be determined, and just keep winging it as a positive and welcomed being in the universe. The world is in urgent need of more of you… Sandy