I live my life in duality. On one hand, I am a perpetual optimist. I know that people, all of us, have the potential to achieve greatness, love with every fiber of our beings and display unprecedented kindness. I try to make this assumption about all humans part of my daily interactions, and some people are definitely able to pick up on that. I’m often surprised at the pleasantness that people can bring to even the most mundane conversations, passing as complete strangers in a hallway or parking lot, and ending up as friends before the few seconds pass and our paths diverge again. It is these moments that lift me up.
I am also, unfortunately, a realist. There are people in my life, and true enough, throughout the world, who have no interest in being good people. In truth, these people are the fundamental root of their decision to not be a decent human being, and unfortunately, their behavior is almost scarily predictable. It’s sad, because they don’t have to be that way, but such is their decision. I cannot change them, nor do they wish to be changed. I must simply accept that and work around the obstructions they so happily place in my way.
There are moments, though, when I’m away for a day or a weekend, that I forget that people are assholes. Being home with my son and husband can do that for me, because they are two of the most loving humans on the planet, and their kind hearts are like an emotional eraser for the asshattery that I experience in my work life. So, days like today, when I’ve forgotten temporarily that my colleagues are jerks, I come in feeling a giddy sense of excitement for the day, only to be crashed hard back into the sad, soul-crushing reality. It’s like forgetting the stove is hot or that a door is locked. I try again and again, expecting different results, only to be reminded of the cardinal truth of the universe: When someone shows you who they truly are, believe them the first time.