#2. Being a Victim
Before we get into this, I need you to understand that there are people out there who have been so fucked over by life that we couldn't possibly even pretend to understand what they're going through. People lying in hospital beds waiting to see if their chemotherapy worked have every goddamn right to give life the finger and say "I never asked for this bullshit."
Those are not the people I'm talking about here. There's a huge difference between them and what an unhealthy number of us go through when things don't go our way. I have several family members who just exhaust me every time we speak because every little negative thing that happens in their lives becomes a full-blown personal catastrophe. I have to psyche myself up like an MMA fighter before knocking on their door.
Shut up, man. I'm still working out.
My aunt's 25-year-old car had shown signs of breaking down for two solid years before it shit out on her. When it finally did, it was a case of "I give up. Life just keeps screwing me over." Of course, to the outside eye, we can easily say, "Wait, how long did you think that car was going to last? You didn't save anything back in the two years it was giving you warnings? This obviously wasn't an unexpected event -- you had shitloads of time to prepare for it. I'm going to punch you in the neck now. Here I go."
If it was just a one-time situation with a single person, I wouldn't even bother bringing it up. All of us have had fate drop a turd into our bath water, and we have every right to bitch about the smell. But where it gets bad is when people linger on those problems so much that "life is bullshit" becomes their go-to excuse to avoid action and prevention. "Why go to college? I'm just going to get stuck licking balls in the blow job factory anyway."
When you've filed all of your problems in the "Out of My Control" folder, it's very easy to lose motivation to fix them and move on. That is an extremely deep hole to climb your way out of. The only way I've seen it successfully escaped is when a person finally has enough and says, "Wait a minute, this is bullshit! I'm sick of living like this, and I'm taking my life back right motherfucking now -- where's my flamethrower?" Myself included.
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"Nothing to worry about. John's just getting his life in order again. Wait, where's the cat?!"
The downside to fixing this personality flaw is that I've never seen someone take that stance without first hitting rock bottom, and that's one huge reason why it's so hard to change. Before that happens, you sort of view life as a series of events that happen to you, rather than a series of events that you create. Truly understanding the difference between those two perspectives can change your life, but going from one to the other can take years of effort.
#1. Conceit and the Fear of Change
I'm indifferent to reality shows, but there's one thing about pretty much all of them that I can't stand: the token arrogant twat who thinks he or she is a gift unto the world. I know it's a ratings gimmick used to make people tune in to see when that jackoff is finally going to get what's coming to him, but it still bothers me. Those aren't people -- they're cartoon characters, and they often mistake narcissism for confidence.
We've preached a sermon of self-love and self-esteem for so long, I think we've gone overboard. Don't get me wrong -- it's a great message to send, and it's absolutely necessary for a sane, productive person to bloom from your child bush. But it has to be used in tandem with lessons of restraint and humility. I don't think there's anyone under the delusion that Honey Boo Boo is going to grow up to be a tolerable, well-adjusted woman.
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I predict some sort of meth/cheese-ball-related explosion by age 14.
Yes, there are massive benefits to being confident and self-assured. But without the ability to humble oneself, you just come off as a piece of shit who nobody wants to be around. Not to mention that, internally, conceited people give themselves virtually no room for growth because the mind has trained itself to think that everything about them is perfect.
And therein lies the problem. You can find a thread of it running through every point in this article. We get so used to thinking of ourselves as complete that we fear changing any part of the formula. I don't think a lot of people view themselves as a constantly evolving organism, always changing until the day they die. I think we hit a certain age and then declare, "This is who I am. What you see is what you get." Everything in your life has led up to the current version of you, and if people don't like it, they can just lick your imperfect asshole.
I'm not even talking about full-on mirror-carrying narcissists. The idea that we shouldn't change anything about ourselves for fear of becoming something else is a form of conceit, and most of us harbor that. And once that fear sets in, it embeds itself into you like a leech.
The only way to get rid of it is to blanket bomb the entire state.
None of this is easy. If it was, we'd all be living in a creepy utopia with identical personalities and matching sweater vests. But even if you don't do it for yourself, it's worth working on if for no other reason than gaining a better understanding of how the human mind operates. Maybe you can use the knowledge to manipulate your boss into giving you a raise or trick some dude into putting a corn cob in his ass. Whatever it is people do for entertainment nowadays. I don't get out much.