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What would a grown-up do?

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

There’s been a shift in my thinking about many things recently. Especially about the way power relations work – at work, within families, between friends.

We all know how it goes:

Someone above you has a bad start to the day, they take it out on you. Then you, being the ever diplomatic and considerate person, decide to take out your frustrations on someone younger or weaker – or both. Imagine this continues as a chain, all the way down to a parent taking their inadequacies and pent up rage out on their child because they are younger and weaker. What a wonderful way to walk into the house, sit down with a cuppa and rant about how awful the world is when all the family really wants is some peace, quiet, and help with their homework.

Yeah, those of us who have to sit back and take this behaviour from grown-ups know exactly how this feels. It feels like our successes and sorrows are paid better attention outside home rather than by the family, where it should actually be shared. But hey, I wouldn’t know about this because I’m not an adult yet. Honestly though, what’s Ohana without setting some time aside to listen to what the family could be doing better? When did constructive feedback ever damage something?

Nothing in the world enrages me more than someone who complains about the choices they make. Especially when adults do it. And I tend to enrage myself quite a bit. Like just now for instance. I’ve noticed more often than not, parents bicker about the smallest of things because they can’t make up their minds about the big decisions. Choices can be anything from the brand of dishwasher soap to where the family should move to next.

When you make a choice for yourself, it’s ALL ON YOU. You hold the power to say yes or no. Especially when you have the choice to decline something, and don’t. When you make a decision for the whole family however, without bothering to consult the people whose lives are hanging in the balance, don’t except it to be a simple matter of moving everyone to your side. It doesn’t work that way. No matter how diplomatic people are, their ropes will run out and when it does remember that NO ONE is going to show mercy, be a supportive colleague, a should to cry on, or even bother to listen because you put yourself and everyone in that position. And it makes things even worse when you are constantly, incessantly belittling every good thing you’ve got going for you. People haven’t got time for your shit. Or your ego.

So the next time you decide to shove your “misfortune” in other people’s faces, ask yourself if you actually have the right to do that. Especially after all those people you complain to / about have done to make sure you have everything you need. If they didn’t, then its all good. Carry on ranting.

Now this isn’t to say that I’m a perfect human being who has no complaints or regrets. I am flawed, I am a hypocrite, I tend to favour some more than others, I go from being absolutely sure about what I want in life to being annoyingly indecisive about important decisions. What gives me the license to rant about others who make life a living hell with their constant urge to put people and positive ideas down, is that I work my way out of it. I have learned the power a genuine apology has on relationships. I know that people have my back because I let them know they are valued, that their presence in my life only makes it better. I make sure that advice on how to improve my character and behavior is taken seriously, however hard it might be for my ego to accept.

The poverty of richness is real. We get so much good that we begin to see it as normal…something we are entitled to. It threatens what we hold dear. It damages relationships which can improve if only we take the time to ask ourselves where WE are going wrong.

Tangible or intangible, good things are taken for granted and when our attitudes leads to our fall, we end up taking people we care about down with us. Especially those who have been kind enough to take our shitty attitude for this long. We are not entitled to the goodness of people without having shown some ourselves.

Enough is enough.

The next time you want to criticise someone else for the effort that they put in, ask yourself if you did it better.

Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself if this is how you want to be remembered. Ask yourself: what would a grown up do?

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