I was watching a Tarantino movie the other day; he’s one of my favourite directors because he has such a brilliant insight into the human spirit – he says what we’re all secretly thinking, with panache. Which movie it was doesn’t matter, what matters is that there was a scene that created a universal storm inside my soul.
A woman was being thrown around and abused – it was part of the story, but at that moment I felt as if every despicable thing mankind had ever done entered my body in a punch-like whoosh, causing such deep grief and anguish I had to get up and leave.
I felt like for one second I’d been present for every rape, murder, abuse, hurt, hatred moment every enacted. It hurt. A lot.
While rape, murder, etc is a horrible thing, a disgusting thing; it’s an event. What we do to each other on a daily basis is something that chips away – a slow murder, a slow rape, a slow abuse.
Every single day, every human chips away at someone else and is chipped away at. That throwaway remark you make, or the quickly-disguised look of disapproval – all those tiny things turn us all into less than we could be.
We’re all, for some reason, looking to be or find the ideal. An ideal that’s pushed into our heads by prejudice, upbringing, perception – stuff. I’m not talking about the physical Hollywood or fashion ideals – that’s bad enough to have to contend with and certainly affects our mental state if we don’t quite cut it. But what about the not intelligent enough, not funny enough, not kind enough. Or whatever your ideal is. How many times a day do you feel not quite good enough? How many times a day do you inadvertently make someone else feel not quite good enough?
Our search for the ideal creates monsters – we feel we have a right to cut down someone who isn’t up to scratch, including our own selves. And in cutting our own selves down, we accept others doing it to us as well.
As a woman, I know how much we hurt and can be hurt. I have a very sharp tongue and know I can destroy someone’s day, or worse, by just a few sentences. And I have had my day obliterated by a throwaway remark, or something that hasn’t been said or noticed.
All the wisdom is out there – do unto others as you would have done to you – there’s one little gem. But do we? We judge people based on how we judge ourselves and often when we find ourselves lacking, we hurt people with the same lack – in a twisted way punishing ourselves. We revere people who have stuff we don’t have, people who seem to live up to the ideal.
But everything is smoke and mirrors. We all have within us the capacity to be perfect as well as imperfect; to be good and evil; to be beautiful and ugly. Even someone who lives up to your ideal has bad days where they fell less than good enough.
What we need to do is observe, understand and accept all our facets. To embrace them and then do the same for others. We shouldn’t be competing on any level, we should all simply be being. If we were, would there be abuse, hatred, anger, prejudice?
If we didn’t chip away at ourselves on a daily basis, would there be any reason to chip away at someone else?
Start with yourself. Check your ideals and see if what you expect from yourself is viable or even based on reality. Who are you comparing yourself with? Who do you think you’re supposed to be? Try just being who you are, warts and all. If we could all just stand naked with our arms raised and shout ‘yes!’, I’m sure the world would be a better place.
The trick is to look inside to understand where your cutting thought comes from – and then heal that in yourself instead of lashing out at someone.