Someone I care about recently did something extremely stupid – something with some far reaching consequences.
My first reaction was anger and disappointment.
How could he do this? Hasn’t he learned anything over the years? He’s been so incredibly fortunate not to have ended up in goal for some of the stunts he’s pulled – and yet he just keeps on tempting fate. What is his problem for goodness sake???
But then I found out a bit more – not a lot, mind you. It was just a couple of brief statements really but it changed my whole perspective.
We all have different levels of coping skills. What will send me into a panicked frenzy might hardly raise an eyebrow for you. I know what pushes his buttons, and just those couple of brief statements told me that he has being having his buttons pushed so hard they are coming out the other side.
He’s crumbled under the pressure. And because he is who he is, the result of that crumbling has been some very self-destructive behaviour.
I’m glad he wasn’t with me when I heard the news. I’m glad he didn’t get to see my initial reaction. I know he feels bad enough as it is and the last thing he needs right now is to have more guilt added to the mix.
This experience has really made me stop and think. As I said, I know him well and I know enough of the situation to understand what has happened here. But what if I didn’t? What if all I saw was this young man who repeatedly does stupid, irresponsible things? What if I shrugged my shoulders and said
“what a loser!’
And how many times do we do that – pass judgement on people without ever knowing the full story? The fact that he is reacting to stressors in his life doesn’t excuse the foolishness of his actions – of course it doesn’t. But perhaps we need to ask ourselves what acts of stupidity we might be capable of, if the right buttons were pushed for the right length of time?
If I crumble under pressure sometime in the near future – how will it help me if everyone shakes their head and says
‘what a loser!’
© Lyn Murphy 2012