I don’t have anything against people, per se. I really don’t. I mean there are some people I can do without, some people I can take them or leave them, and some people I really don’t like at all. They are very specific people though. And some people I really, really like. And a select few that I love.
People in general though? Ooh I don’t know about that.
I know there are some good ones out there. A lot of them though, a lot of them are not.
The thing I don’t like about other people is that they are other people, with eyes and brains; seeing me, judging me, criticizing me, excluding me, mocking me, ignoring me, and rejecting me, and a lot of times without even knowing me.
They look at me and make their assumptions and don’t consider that I have feelings, or what I’ve been through and what I’m struggling with. They don’t know me and yet they’ve already made up their mind about me. And mostly it is not positive.
Now I can’t honestly say that I never make assumptions about others as they do about me because then I’d be lying. I don’t think anyone is without moments where they were just as harsh and judgmental as others can be. I can definitely say that I’ve judged others. Probably more than I should have.
For the most part though I try very hard not to jump to conclusions or make assumptions. I try very hard not to judge or criticize and give others space and leeway that maybe what I’m seeing right now does not tell me all that I need to know about them. That it’s not really fair to assume anything about this other person when I don’t know them. I don’t know what brought them to this moment, and what they might be struggling with. I don’t know the circumstances that made this moment happen.
Some people I am much more successful at just accepting what I see and not jumping to any assumptions, and some, not so much. I do try not to though, so I’m counting that in my favour. A lot of people don’t stop and consider, they don’t stop and think, they just have their own opinions and assumptions and there is no negotiating or consideration. There mind is made up and that’s that.
When you interact with other people, even just in passing, like on public transit or shopping for groceries, means you are not only subject to how you’re feeling, how your day is going, what’s going on with you, and what brought you here, you’re also dealing with theirs too. You’re dealing with how they are feeling, how their day is going, what’s going on with them, and what brought them here. And that can be scary and uncertain.
What if they’re having a bad day? What if they’re having a hard time? What if their mood is low, or worse? What if they don’t have the capacity to consider other people at all? What if they won’t be kind? What if they judge? What if they insult? What if they hurt me?
I know this is a lot to think about and some might think it’s overthinking. Maybe it is. I can’t help that sometimes my mind goes to all of these places because so many times I haven’t considered what another might be dealing with or where they were coming from, and in the midst of it all I got hurt.
Sometimes it was because they were just being mean, plain and simple. Sometimes though, it was because they were reacting to something totally different that had nothing to do with me and I just got caught in the crossfire. Sometimes I’ve taken things very personally that weren’t about me at all. And maybe if I had considered the other person and where they’re at, I could have been spared some of the pain.
There are many out there who are just jerks. People who don’t care about another person regardless. There are many people who just act and react without thought and don’t realize the damage they might be doing. Those are the people that scare me.
I can manage if someone gives consideration to others, they give time and space, patience, even understanding to me, where I’m at, and my needs. And without being asked. Those people I’m okay with.
Sadly, there are more of the former than the latter, and that’s what keeps me from being more social than I am. That’s what keeps me home and keeps me isolated. It’s what keeps me well inside my comfort zone of people I know, and people who know me.
I’ve had more than enough of judgments and criticisms, comments and looks, wrong assumptions and harsh opinions. I’ve been insulted, mocked, criticized, judged, excluded and rejected more times than I can count. And frankly I’m good to never have any of that again. I know that’s not realistic because sadly pain can find you anywhere. I just can’t help that I feel if there’s something I can do to mitigate it from happening again, even if it means staying home and never going out, then that’s kind of okay with me.
I say kind of because I’m not 100% on the staying home and never going out because there are some people I do like, some things I love to do, and some places I really like to go, and staying home and never going out again just doesn’t work well with that. People I like, things I love, and places to go can’t all come to me. Unfortunately. So that means I would have to go out. And whether I like it or not, sometimes I need other people, and that means interacting with other people. Even if it’s only in a superficial manner.
It’s hard though. Honestly. Dealing with other people and all their stuff? That’s hard to do. At least for me it is. Wondering if the other person will be kind? Will they be considerate? Will they make assumptions about me that might be totally wrong and unfair? Will they treat me well or will they hurt me?
I feel like dealing with other people would just be easier if they weren’t other people. I deal with animals really well because they don’t bring all their baggage to every moment the way people do. Animals are great that way. People on the other hand, they have baggage. A lot of it.
I think I could handle other people better if they came with a warning or disclaimer, like as I approach them to pass them or I needed to interact with them, there was this little pop-up in my head or in front of my eyes that told me, ‘this person is a jerk, and may insult you so you may want to go a different direction’, or ‘that woman walking to the seat beside you is very kind, she won’t insult or judge you, you can remain in this seat for now’. Just a little blurb that lets me know, am I safe or not?
I don’t think that’s asking too much. Or maybe people could wear certain colours that tell you this person is safe, this person is not. That would be good. Like a hat or scarf or something, and if it’s green, then I’m safe, and if it’s red, then I’m not. And other colours could be used too, to designate ‘oh this person is safe but they’re having a bad day so you may want to be careful’. It would make my life much easier. And less anxious, I think.
Because really, that’s my goal, to have less anxiety. Much less. Being able to go out, do things, maybe even meet new people, or at least see the ones I do know (and like), without having anxiety take me down and keep me home, that’s all I want. To live and not constantly feel like I’m going to die. I hope someday I’ll get there.