greatest-american-hero

Today we ask that you accept people as they are.

This is a very hard thing for most people.  Really, it is a skill to be mastered.  If you master this skill, you will feel much calmer and more stable in your life.

People are who they are.  But there is a tendency to either idealize people, or vilify them.  One moment you see them through rose-colored glasses.  The next, they are monsters and villains.  People are all good, or all bad.

In reality, people are messy, and complex.  They are neither heroes, nor villains.  They are just like you: a complex bundle of conflicting desires and motives.  Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are not so good.  In general, this is what it is to be human.

Dogs are dogs, and cats are cats.  Dogs tend to do dog-like things, and cats tend to do cat-like things.  If you don’t like dogs, you probably shouldn’t live with one.  If you hate cats, don’t live with one.

And yet people often find themselves deeply entangled with types of people they don’t like at all.  They then sit around wishing the person was different.  This is like wishing for a dog not to be a dog, or a cat not to be a cat.

When a dog does doggy things, it is very predictable.

When a cat does catty things, it is very predictable.

When a self-absorbed person does self-absorbed things, it is very predictable.

And yet so often you are shocked!

When a judgmental person behaves judgmentally, it is very predictable.

And yet so often you are shocked!

When a dishonest person does something dishonest, it is very predictable.

And yet so often you are shocked!

Why are you so shocked?  Usually people’s patterns of behavior are very predictable.

It is because you idealize people.  You wear rose-colored glasses, often ignoring what is happening right in front of you.

Then, when these very predictable people do something predictable, you are shocked!  Suddenly, they are horrible.  They are monsters.

All that has happened is, your distorted perception has been corrected.

This does not mean, be very cynical, and never trust anyone.

It just means, it is good to be very honest with yourself about what you are perceiving and sensing.

People do change, but usually change happens slowly, and gradually.  If it happens overnight, beware.  Overnight change rarely lasts.

It is okay to be involved with messy, complex, imperfect people.  Who isn’t messy, complex, and imperfect?

But it is crazy to want a messy, complex, imperfect person to be a pure hero.  Naturally, they will fail to live up to your expectations.

See people as they are, not as you wish them to be.  Accept them as they are.  Do not be surprised when they do things you disapprove of.  The wise man is never surprised by human fragility.

The more clearly you perceive people, the easier it will be for you to have compassion for them.  

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