Why we voluntarily take other people’s shit
A client once said to me,
“I’ve taken so many drugs, in my past, that when something bad starts happening I just stop a second and ask myself, What did you take? Is this a relapse?”
“Honestly,” I told him, “that’s always the safest bet.”
Take a second — think.
You may find that, instead of a handful of mushroom caps, you’ve instead just taken a toxic dose of someone else’s bullshit.
There’s a little wooden sign in our living room, that my wife had a friend make us that says,
‘The secret is to take a breath and be thankful.’
It was the only piece of advice she ever lifted off of me, besides, stop taking those damn Xanax’s. Ten years later, I sometimes regret I said it!
All jokes aside, taking a second before you do anything is probably the best advice you’ll hear this week.
But hearing isn’t exactly the same as taking it all in, now is it?
That’s what this article is all about.
Too often, we take what people say, right down the hatch. Immediate digestion and an even more immediate emotional response occurs.
Whether we reveal our true feeling about what we just took, depends on how well we’ve been publicly pacified, I suppose.
But it still triggers an emotional response, and those emotions, in-turn weigh heavily on what we do and experience. For instance, I could just be feeding you another line of bullshit, this instant. So, do yourself a favor, and when you’re finished reading this article, ask yourself what you just took.
It’s okay, you can be honest.
I’m here to open you up to a whole new world of possibility, where every suggestion is a shot, every insult is a pill, and every drug is well, it’s still a drug.
It doesn’t matter what the hell is going on in your experience; if something is not the way you planned it, it’s because you just took something without notice!
But, eventually everyone gets tired of taking shit. And, believe it or not, we all dish out shit on a daily basis without ever being the wiser.
Like was said on Forrest Gump; It just happens. Shit.
My friend Woody and I once said that human beings should all come with a disclaimer that reads,
“I don’t know how. I don’t know why. It may not even be my fault! But eventually, I’m gonna piss you off. So, I’m just gonna say sorry up front.”
People get pissed off. Luckily they’re civil enough that most of the time it happens after they’ve walked away. But, is that really what is best for all of us involved?
I, in no way advocate losing your temper. I simply recognize that losing our temper is a by product of not being honest with ourselves in a timely manner.
Something didn’t turn out how you planned. Or, you didn’t say what you wanted to say in your last meeting. Maybe, you sat with the doleful eyes of a sow as your boss accused you of something you were innocent of.
Being passive isn’t the answer either. There is tons of research on how the emotions affect the bodies response to stress. Cortisol levels and the like. Tons of books out there are trying to help people stay in the moment, so they won’t worry about things that might never happen.
People take tons of prescription medications to curb their anxieties these days. Anxieties brought on by unrealized emotion.
Someone tells you how great you did on that last project, or how thoughtful you were for that thank you note. Boom, you get a good feeling. They might as well have slipped you a Xanax. You just took a compliment to heart, and it had a euphoric effect!
Did you take the time to say, “Thank you?”
On the other hand, when someone honks the horn at you for sitting too long at a green light, your immediate mental note is ‘SHIT!’, before jamming the accelerator. (A negative connotation)
Now, you’re playing with fire. Might as well take a small swig of that Tequila that makes you go batshit angry…
Someone starts bringing up one of your past failures, and you nod straight through without raising your hand to suggest you’re not interested in hearing it. Well, you’re just standing there letting them feed you more of those tequila shots.
I’m not suggesting that the ability to power through insult is not commendable. Only, that it is unhealthy.
Ninety percent of the people on Planet Earth these days have a real issue with vocal diarrhea. We’ve been in a race to say what we want, before someone cuts us off, for so long that we have lost our ability to think before we respond.
Steve jobs called it ‘The Rule of Awkward Silence’.
What do you think may happen if you forced everyone to wait while you thought about a response? The worst; you may miss you first chance among a group of individuals. The best, you may just say what you mean.
Steve Jobs once waited nearly 20 seconds after an audience member took a shot at him, before delivering the perfect response.
Taking someone else’s shit is unnecessary and unhealthy, and if you’re going to stop doing it, the first thing you have to do is take the time to be honest with yourself. That means, enforcing this rule of Awkward Silence. Not only with other people, but yourself as well.
That’s right, we dish as much bullshit out to ourselves as other people do! The key is to recognize your emotions when they arise. Acknowledge them, don’t suppress them! But, take the time to ask yourself what medicine you just took that enticed that feeling.
Emotion doesn’t just happen. It happens, because!
You’ve either taken a pill, or taken someone’s shit; including and not limited to your own.
Once you learn to take the needed time to recognize your emotions when they arise, you are empowered to raise your hand and do like we all were taught through multiple campaigns in elementary school and...
“Just say no.”
What kind of bullshit do you take? I’m willing to bet most of it is your own.
Jay Horne is author of THE ONLY THING I LIKE ABOUT LIVING and publisher out of Bradenton, Florida who has shared a genuine interest in philosophy and writing since early childhood. He is a husband and father of four. Jay enjoys writing fiction, humor, horror, and teen & young adult.
View all of his professional and philosophical works of literature on his Amazon author page where you will find blogs, videos, and free excerpts:
Jay M Horne