Maybe I’m crazy, but I have this theory that most of the basic things in life are easier than we make them.
We seem to work very hard, and with a great deal of dedication and perseverance to make everything harder than it needs to be.
There’s an easy way to do things, and then there’s the way we actually do them.
To live and let live is effortless. Causing strife and conflict takes work.
Why leave our neighbors alone when we can stick our noses in their business?
Why focus on our own responsibilities at work when we can worry about what our co-workers are doing? And why have a calm, efficient work environment, when we can have drama?
Why accept the people we marry for who they are (and, by the way, who they were when we chose to marry them) when we can try to change them into who we think they should be?
Why let our kids find their own dreams, when can force our unfulfilled dreams on them?
Why support our siblings when we can compete with them?
Why accept that people see things differently, when we can argue, belittle and sometimes even bring ourselves to hate those who have different views?
I don’t like what that person over there is doing, so I must find a way to stop them – and anyone else who may ever want to do that – from doing it.
Now, see, that takes work.
On the flip side of all this effort, minding your own business is easier than falling off a log.
So what’s the problem? Are our lives so dull that we have to create excitement by messing with other people?
I’ve always understood why people want freedom, but I’ve never understood why people will put so much effort into taking someone else’s freedom away.
Then why do we do it? The answer, I think, lies in the human ego.
We don’t always realize it or care to admit it, but we’re all egotistical.
Secretly, maybe even subconsciously, we as individuals believe that the things we think and feel and the way we do things are the right ways. We think we know best.
So, naturally, this means that those who differ from us are wrong.
If we don’t really feel this way, why do we love to argue so much? Why do we need to share our opinions, even when no one asked for them?
Comedian George Carlin illustrated this egocentric idea brilliantly with a humorous question about driving. Carlin asked, “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”
I actually notice that all the time, because, when I drive, my speed is just right. And if you’re honest, you’ll admit you feel the same way.
This same premise applies far beyond driving. When I have an idea, my idea is the right idea. When you have an idea, your’s is the right idea. To me, my plan is the best plan the best one; to you, your’s is better. If we hold different political viewpoints, we each believe ours is the sensible way of thinking and the other guy is a wingnut.
Different opinions are fine. In fact, they’re necessary, and it wouldn’t be so bad if we could all just be content in our own (differing) beliefs. The problem is we have to be sure that everyone else knows who’s right, and who’s wrong. And more than that, we have to show the others why they’re wrong. This means we can’t mind our own business, we have to mind theirs, too.
There are many things in this world worth fighting for. Unfortunately, we overlook most of them because we’re too busy fighting for things that aren’t worth it, making mountains out of molehills, and trying to change everybody else instead of looking in the mirror first.