Be Better Than You Are

I was going to start off this post by writing about how we live in a pervasive culture of you are better than you think you are and how detrimental that can be. But, why start a post about being better than I currently am by belittling what is someone else’s philosophy of life? Why promote a different world-view by contrasting something else entirely in a negative light? That’s not being a better person than I am now.

Inherently, I know I’m not as good as I can be. I have oh so many vices. I’m not as kind as I should or can be. I’m full of self-pity and hatred and pettiness. I’m just as easily swayed by someone else’s negativity as the next person. It’s so easy to fall into being petty, isn’t it? To pull apart someone that isn’t there. To feel slighted and passed over. To feel like you’re not being listened to. Honestly, I’d like to think everyone feels these feels, at least I hope so (then I won’t feel like such a monster).

What I’ve tried to do though is just assume everyone is trying their best. They’re in this world being their best selves. Their intentions are good and kind. I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. In the real world, I’m a fairly loud and outspoken person. But, it takes a hell of a lot for me to write you off due to my belief that you are trying your best.

I find that I can be judgemental, especially when it comes to someone else’s code. Since I have the luxury of looking back on the codebase that someone else wrote, knowing what the original programmer surely didn’t know, it’s so simple to make judgements and proclamations. It’s so easy to be an ass. Again, I try to remember that code was written in circumstances that I have no insight into. That the code I write today, people will surely ask what the hell was I thinking when they view it years later.

If there is a legacy I want to leave to this world, it is that I was kind. That you could come to me, muddied, broke, and bloody, and I would embrace you as a kindred spirit. That no matter who you are, I will accept and care about you. I want to be the type of person that just loves. I believe that we are all beginners and villians and awkward teenagers and cantankerous beings at different points in our lives. If I can learn to accept and be kind to all the those points, I can be better than I am. I can make the world a better world.

In my life, there are a few people that have shown me the way. My mother is the person I measure my life against due to her boundless spirit; my boss at work who accepts everyone and shows kindness to all; my friend with a vulnerable heart unafraid to be the voice of reason; another friend who lets the fear she feels be the fuel for adventure. These are people that I want to emulate. To be counted as a friend and colleague amongst them is both an honor and a responsibility.

But I still have a long way to go. I need to remember that the kindness I show to others is kindness I need to show myself. As much as I can be that cantankerous villian towards others, I am about a million times more judgemental and horrendous toward myself. A misspoken statement I make or a misplaced action performed can cause the vindictive internal monologue in my head to play on repeat. And that proves beneficial to no one. I have to be kind to myself.

In this world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing everyone other than ourself needs to get their shit together (especially in this world of Trump). For my part, I’m going to look internally. I’m going to strive to take a look at my own assumptions and beliefs. I’m going to be a better me.