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Following the Golden Rule is the ticket to an unhappy life…

Photo-Jul-18-10-41-22I have lived with a lot of people in my life. And I’ve always (with no exceptions, pretty much) been very happy with my roommates, because I tend to have zero expectations. In my opinion, people are going to be who they are. And you can nag at them and nag at them, but they’re still going to make noise if they’re noisy people or be messy if they’re messy people, and that’s just how it is.

It’s a strange paradox (well, it’s not really a paradox, but that’s the word I’ll use) that the people who give the most lip service to tolerance and harmony in their living situations tend to be the most shrill, demanding, and anxious roommates. The person who’s the most careful to be quiet and respectful to their roommates is the one who’s angriest when their roommates are noisy. The person who’s most scrupulous about respecting their roommates’ wishes is the one who’s angriest when their own wishes aren’t respected.

Basically, people will go out of their way to restrain themselves, and then they’ll be angry when others don’t do the same. It’s not surprising. This is what people are taught. Do unto others as you’d want others to do unto you, Which is fine, as an abstract principle. But in practice, it leads to magical thinking. You start to think that you can make some sort of deal with your surroundings. Like, if I’m really good, then people will be good to me. When really that’s crazy. People will act how they’ll act. In this case, doing unto others doesn’t get you anything except a set of false expectations.

Whereas if you just do whatever you want and assume other people will do what they want, then you: a) won’t ever feel frustrated because you didn’t get to do something you wanted to do; and b) won’t feel mad when other people do what they want. And if it means you live in a noisy situation? Well, you can wear earphones. Or if you live in a messy place? You can clean it. Or move. People spend so much time trying to adjust their environment to meet their expectations, but it’s much easier to adjust your expectations so that they meet your environment.

P.S. Occasionally I’m just going to note down here that my mailing list exists. If you want more info about it (and why I’m pimping it out so aggressively), please click here.

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