Found My Inner Asshole – Now How to Get Rid of Him?

I’ve spent the last week in a stressed out daze. However, this post really isn’t about that. It just helps to understand the context of the remainder.

I’m beginning to see a trend in the people around me which is both uplifting and concerning. Or, perhaps, the better turn of phrase should be that I’m beginning to acknowledge the trend.

This week alongside all of the other shit that I’ve got going on, I found myself in numerous conversations dealing with religion, metaphysics, perceptions, etc. I’d like to think that these dialogues have been largely a two-way conversation but, in all honesty, I’ve been the one doing most of the talking. Answering questions from the other person about what makes something sacred, early Christianity, general Paganism etc. etc. Regardless, I get a lot of enjoyment out of this sort of discussion.

The flipside here are the other conversations I’ve been having. Generally speaking, people seem to be fed up with their lives, their jobs, the truths that they’ve been told etc. etc. Now, I’m completely aware that I’m not so satisfied with certain aspects of my life so at least some of these discussions are the result of that commonality.

What I find interesting is that while these two things, people questions about religion and the ‘Big Questions’ and their dissatisfaction with the way things are, are coming together with such force these days.

Does this surprise me? Not really.

What does surprise me is how much I’m also affected by these sorts of questions and how it’s affecting me as a person. One good example of this, and I’m not proud of it, was my reaction/perspective that arose in a discussion I had with the Wifey earlier in the week. Somehow we got into a discussion about in-state tuition being given to the children of illegal immigrants. I approached it with a very black & white, illegal vs legal, standpoint with what I realized, upon reflection, had a distinct lack of compassion for the people involved.

Toward the tail end of the discussion I think I started getting to the root of my issue, which really didn’t have anything to do with the subject directly at hand, but rather stemmed from my own frustrated existence. Simply put, I’ve become less and less compassionate the harder life gets and the more I get frustrated with where my life is taking me. I get tired of being told that as a white male I exist in a system that benefits me and that, as such, others should get all these ‘special considerations’ so that we can be on equal footing. This is hard to swallow when I don’t feel like I’m all that much at an advantage and my place in current place in life supports that perspective.

The Wifey then made the comment, if I’m remembering correctly, that extended this to the American public in general and brought it back to the specific question at hand regarding in-state tuition. I think that, while it makes me look like an asshole, this perspective does speak to the fact that I think a lot of Americans are in the same place that I am. ‘Why should I be compassionate to others when I myself am suffering?”

Sorry for the long, sorta tangential wall of words…

Anyhow, I guess what I’m saying is that I feel like everyone is on edge, stressed out, crabby, and generally is loosing the ability to be compassionate because they are suffering in their own private worlds. I’ve seen a lot of evidence about that this week.

I just wish I had some answers.

One Response to “Found My Inner Asshole – Now How to Get Rid of Him?”

  1. Lori Says:

    It is everywhere, Matt. It’s hard to be “pro” your particular institution (whether that be at work, school, etc) in the public arena when that same institution is crapping on your personal world. It seems to be increasing and people are agitated. I don’t think you’re alone in your way of reacting to it.

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