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It’s easier being an a-hole …

December 13, 2010

Have you ever thought “would it not be easier to go through life as a complete a-hole?” I certainly thought so at one time or another. Think about it. The a-hole can completely light up a co-worker and do they lose sleep over it? Nope. They could steal your parking spot in a crowded mall five days before Christmas and do they give a crap? Nada. They can completely fumble the ball and is it their fault? Of course not.

Think of all the advantages the a-hole has. They can go through life believing every argument, every contentious issue, every fight, every adverse event was someone else’s problem. There is certainly no need to make amends, is there? After all, it wasn’t the a-hole’s fault. It was the other guy’s fault. A-holes don’t need to learn since they know everything already. A-holes don’t have to sign up for personal development courses – other people do! A-holes don’t have to change, acknowledge someone else’s feelings or worry about what others think about them. What freedom!

I tease. I know better because I was an a-hole. Years ago I came to the realization I needed to change, in part because my career and personal life really weren’t going the way I wanted them to. In spite of some apparent success little of it felt right. But working at improving my attitude and approach was, well, work. And that’s when I suggested to my executive coach it was easier being an a-hole. She said that would be a great title for a book. I don’t want to make time to write a book so I’ll just write about it in this post.

Of course it isn’t easier being an a-hole. I know that. At the time I sometimes felt like it would be easier. Making the changes I needed to in my life was very difficult. I had to step up to some difficult truths. I had to make amends. I had to acknowledge when I was wrong. And I was wrong a lot. There was a lot of pain. Still is. But now I know pain is just the change I needed to make leaving the body. I know I’m not failing, I’m just falling. I can pick myself up and move forward.

The early stages of transformation were the most difficult. I knew I had to make changes but at the same time I couldn’t help but feel people around me needed to change too. I knew I was far from perfect but some of the people I was interacting with were pulling stuff that I thought was plain wrong. They were ladder climbers. They were power trippers. They were all about “big me” and “little team” and not “big team” and “little me”. They were egocentric. They were liars. They were not trustworthy. And yet I had to change? What’s up with that? I struggled with why I had to change when these a-holes didn’t, hence my thought it must be easier being an a-hole.

But it’s not easier. It just looks like it might be. No matter how much I tried not to, I knew I had to change. I knew better was within me. The chafing I felt wasn’t resistance to change, it was the process of making change. Metamorphous doesn’t come easy, but it’s worth every bit of pain that comes with. I’ve since learned being an a-hole isn’t freeing at all, not being an a-hole is. At the time I was often uncomfortable being in my own skin, so much so I used to dream about being someone else. Today, I am completely comfortable in my own skin and wake up each day proud of who I am and what I represent, comfortable in the knowledge I have something to offer at the same time as I have much more to learn.

It took me time to learn to deal with others as they are and not how they should be. In the process of doing so I learned what I am and not what I should be. I’m not an a-hole after all, although every now and then I can behave like one. In those moments I am quick to seek forgiveness and even quicker to forgive myself. I’m trying. I’m doing my best. I’m learning. And it’s no longer painful, but quite exhilarating.

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