I’m by nature a navel gazer. I like to ponder things and how they relate to me: I’m what you would term narcissistic and I am very aware of the fact (though not where looks are concerned: I’d rather avoid a mirror and slob than primp every 5 minutes) seriously, just look how many times I use the word ‘I’ in this paragraph for example – it’s ALL about me. But that’s part of self-reflection right? It’s how we check that we are on the right path; that we are improving ourselves – both in mind, body and action.
I like to think of myself as open minded. I have a rather strong sense of right and wrong (as do most people) but to my mind anything goes – so long as it doesn’t negatively impact anyone else: you want to sleep with your sibling/ cousin/ total stranger in a toilet/ field/ classroom/ glass shed? Hey, if they’re up for it too go enjoy yourselves – I DON’T CARE; it’s only wrong if by doing so you hurt somebody else (and man will I get shouted at for that viewpoint: people truly believe that where sex is concerned there is no end to the judgement they can provide) Speaking of… You’re fantasizing about ramming the head of the preachy prat in the next room through a sink and shoving a razor blade between his bum-cheeks? Cool, i’ll help embellish the fantasy – so long as fantasy is where it stays. Yep, I like to think of myself as open minded. But I’m not, hence the judging on my part: you intentionally hurt someone else through word or deed and you’re the biggest talking phallus on the planet in my book.
I’m not naturally a good person – I work at it. Not always successfully it’s true; I’m too sarcastic and though I hate to see people judging others I still do it too, before I catch myself in the thought – which is when I berate my critical self and question my viewpoint on the subject and make excuses on behalf of the judged.
People are entitled to make mistakes; I try, REALLY try, not to judge the people who do – but when they cause pain – intentionally or not – through their mistake, it is hard not to make a judgement. This is when we have to catch ourselves and make allowances; we’ve not walked in their shoes, we don’t know what led them to be where they are now; swallowing guilt or brazenly flaunting their lack of shame.
You are human. You KNOW right from wrong; you have the capacity of reason and can make the choice to NOT take certain actions. If you knowingly decide to do something that gives you even the faintest twinge of guilt when you think of how another person will view that action then you stop and do not do it. Simple as that.
BUT, I also understand that people are naturally weak and that they have the capacity to learn and that we all learn best through making mistakes. I do know that there are very few things that will make me personally withhold any kind of forgiveness and understanding, but, If as stated above, someone knowingly betrays another or knowingly causes harm by taking advantage of another they can consider themselves off my friend list: even if the person they hurt ‘deserves it’. …Unless they can show they’ve learned from it enough to never want to be that person again; that the contrition is real and lasting.
There is a saying that people never change but that expression is bollocks: the only reason a person will never change is if they never learn.
So what do I mean by ‘learn’? “the cognitive process of acquiring skill or knowledge”? not quite, though that is a part of it. “a change in neural function as a consequence of experience”?basically, yes. ..Because if you are literally changing the physical state of your brain (and that is precisely what you do when you learn – neuro-scientist types back me up on this) then it stands to reason that to learn results in “a change in behaviour as a result of experience”. See – people can and DO change.
Now sadly, some people seem to learn bad behaviour and wrong thinking as a result of experience – which is why I try to give the benefit of the doubt and look for underlying reasons or causes behind specific behaviours: teaching has taught ME a lot about myself and how I react and a lot about how other people react to things like stress, the environment around them and their own fear and helplessness or loss of control.
Because ultimately that is what everything that is judged boils down to: control. This is why people are weak: the need to feel in control is inbuilt and it may only be about small things – not everyone wants to lead for example – but when the control over that small thing is threatened people do not react in nice ways, they give in to weakness. Only the strongest can lose this feeling of control and not seek to strike out or act out in response. I strive to be one of the strong ones. Always.
But… My poor husband (yup, still like saying that: it’s still new enough to make me chuckle a bit) he, along with my best friend, will probably attest to the fact that striving to be strong is about the best I can handle; especially on the days when PMS, ME/CFS or Menieres disease have a hold of me. When I’m tired or hungry I am a bear – except that’s not really fair to bears: I’m pure acid tongued bitch on speed at those times; I aim to wound all around me in my pain and frustration and my aim is generally true.
This is why I hide away from certain people and prefer limited contact to crowds; because I navel gaze. I know my own weakness and limitations – I know that to be around people at those times will result in words said that cannot be unsaid: I KNOW right from wrong and I know that unless I want to hurt someone (and I don’t, not really) I need to keep my trap shut and avoid the temptation to let out the evil thoughts and nasty judgmental observations that will make someone breakdown in tears and question their very identity (I’ve done it before – it’s my own special talent and one I strive to never use).
I navel gaze to try and hold on to just enough control so that instead of talking I walk away. Instead of hitting send I hit delete. Instead of becoming a walking talking phallus I retain that spark of humanity that knows it is wrong to cause pain and suffering to another person – no matter my own hurt at the time. Do you?