I am probably one of the most obnoxious people you will ever meet.
You probably wouldn’t assume that about me if you met me. A few words that are used to describe me are, “quiet,” “reclusive,” “reserved,” and “oh I didn’t see you there.” (That last one isn’t quite an adjective, but trust me, I’ve heard it before.) How can a quiet person be obnoxious?
Let me invite you into my brain.
Never mind. That sounded gross – “Please, lodge yourself into my cerebral cortex. Don’t be shy.” In all honesty, though, my inner monologue from day-to-day is probably not what people would expect.
The same things that I look down upon are the same things I’m thinking. I just choose not to say them. Sometimes. (Sometimes I choose to blog about them.)
And just because I don’t say them out loud doesn’t mean they’re any less bad. Because they still cross my mind, and I still dwell on them. Let me give you some examples.
I judge people. I hardcore judge people. I’m not even going to sugar-coat that. I criticize people in my head while telling them nice things. I’m jealous of people even though I praise them and pretend to like them. Because if I do that, I’ll seem like a nice person. And everyone likes nice people. And I want people to like me.
C.S. Lewis has a lot to say about nice people. (He had a lot to say about a lot of things, and everything he said was brilliant. I’m not being hyperbolic; it’s true.) He said that nice people don’t think they need anything to save them. They’re nice enough to save themselves. They’re not really good, they’re not really bad – they’re just “nice.” (See: The Witch in Into the Woods. She has a lot to say about nice people too.) And nice people are like those people you see riding in pontoon boats in the summer. They’re not speeding, they’re not drifting; they’re just along for the ride.
Don’t get me wrong. If you have negative/bad/evil thoughts, don’t blurt them out. Don’t be that guy. But if those thoughts do cross your mind, don’t dwell on them. If you thought someone’s answer in class was really stupid, don’t dwell on it. Think of a question that might help them, or help yourself understand whatever is being discussed. If you think someone’s clothes look weird, think about how that person must have an awesome personality. Or just look away from that person and think about something totally different, like what you’re going to have for lunch (I think about that a lot.)
The thing is, we’re all dirty, whether we show it or not. We’ve all got dirt. You see that nice person over there? That guy’s got dirt. He probably thinks bad things about people too. (This exercise is really awkward if you’re sitting in an empty room.) You’ve probably heard this before: When you point a finger, there are three pointing back at you (I mean, sort of. They’re kind of pointing into your palm, unless you point really weird.)
In summary: Everyone’s obnoxious. Everyone judges people and has mean thoughts and stuff like that. Everyone’s got dirt. You’ve got dirt. I’ve got dirt. (Up next on Sesame Street…) It’s all about how you channel those thoughts. Jump off that pontoon boat and go for a swim. Enjoy the people around you, the life around you. Look into people’s faces and find one thing you like about them. And if something bad slips out of your mouth, just apologize, either to yourself or to someone you’ve offended.
And keep living your awesome life.