3 Ways to Get Over Yourself

Posted on 6:06 PM by Mike Fye


This is a list specifically designed for my own private use. I have no idea how it ended up on my super-public, read-by-kertrillions (translated: Mom and stalky exes) blog.

1.Concede Ignorance on the Things That don't really apply/matter to you
    
You can ask me a question on just about issue and more than likely I'll have SOME kind of answer. A lot of times it will even be a fairly well-articulated, semi-educated one. It's all well and good to have a stance and opinion on any given subject. But I'm slowly beginning to realize something very important. My opinion means absolutely nothing most of the time. This is because as well-read and interested I may be in any given matter, in reality I have either no experience with it in real life or even worse, I have just enough limited experience with it to think I've earned a valid opinion on the subject. Example: I am pro-gun control because suicidal tendencies run in my family. I lost two family members to suicide by gunshot and could have very well lost myself if I'd had access to a firearm during some of my darker moments.  And maybe those two family members would still be around today if they had not had access to them during their dark times. So that's my reason. And basically the only reason I would have any valid opinion on that issue. But  is that really enough? And now that I've made that decision based solely on those experiences am I opening my mind to all the other arguments for gun control while closing my mind to the opposition? Most certainly, as I'm sure there's a person out there who's against gun control because of the time it kept them from being robbed, killed or worse. And the point isn't about having an opinion on an issue, it's questioning your own authority on that issue before engaging others to with it.  Simply because you could be a deciding factor in someone else's stance on the issue. And with that much potential power, we should be very damn sure or at least passionate about whatever it may be before we go running our mouths about it, spewing out facts and statistics on something just to stroke our own egos when we really could give two shits about it in our actual lives.

2.  Stop Falling Back on Cliches when it comes to things you really don't know/care about

This has to be the biggest cop-out in the known universe. Nothing shouts "smug, self-absorbed bastard" like spewing tired generic "-isms" at someone's legitimate problem. Notice I said legitimate...old clichéd sayings are perfect advice for people with smug, self-absorbed bastard problems. Throwing something like a "There's plenty of fish in the sea" to a 3rd grader or a random cashier that shares too much while ringing up your Snickers bar is one thing, but saying it to your best friend when they tell you they're ending their ten year marriage, just so you can seem "wise beyond your years" or witty is just selfish.  If you don't have anything honest to say, just shut the Hell up and listen. You'll be a better friend and a better person for it in the long run.

3.  Stop Subscribing to Viewpoints You Don't Believe in Just Because They're Convenient and/or You Don't Want to Look Like a Hypocritical Idiot

For most of my childhood,I was a Christian of the Baptist denomination. As any Baptist worth that salt knows, animals don't have souls. They're here solely for sustenance and entertainment. It's in the Bible and everything (Yes I'm sure)! So, that was what I believed. Then one day I ended up discussing it with a friend that was fortunate enough to be able to form his own opinion on the matter without the fear of burning in hell for all eternity. Anyways, long story short, I ended up arguing my point that animals had no soul. He argued that they did. I didn't come away from that argument with my mind changed, but a seed was planted by his differing viewpoint. Over time, that seed was nurtured by gaining new knowledge and experiences. I hadn't even thought about the whole "animals with souls" in years (I believe I'd moved on to questioning the existence of souls in general), but when I did, I not only thought it was possible, but probable. The next time I ended up in a conversation with my friend that touched on the subject, I was even able to poke some fun at myself over how my view had changed.

That long-winded story has a point. In that particular example, the issue was one that I wasn't extremely invested in (sorry PETA), so it was easier for me to let go of my old view and embrace a new one. And my goal is to try to be that way with all of my views.
That's not to say I should stop fighting for the things i am passionate about, but to actively listen and understand the opposition. To let different seeds be planted, and give them the ability to grow based on new knowledge and experience.
This is all easy to ramble about. Actively doing it on a day to day basis is not easy.
It's much easier to settle into our bubbles with all our like-minded friends, congratulating each other on how great, intelligent and righteous we are.  But how great world it be if your "enemies" could say that about you? Or if we could seek out the positive aspects of the opposition, leading with the things we agree on before delving into what we don't? To ALWAYS treat humans as humans, regardless of how we feel about their choices/beliefs. 

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