I recently read what one could call an “inspirational” book that had an entire chapter dedicated towards the idea of speaking one’s mind in a non-confrontational way but, getting what one wants. Within a few hours of finishing that chapter in the book, I was told about a video that contained a similar type of message but, expanded to include the idea that one should only hang around those who have the same ideals and lifestyle that you have.
We’ve had a few large snow falls lately and my neighbour across the street whom I will call “Jane” had called me, upset and grumpy because her next-door neighbour has been outside with a loud snow blower at 6:30 a.m., clearing his snow from his property almost every morning. The noise awoke Jane of course and her late shift working husband. This happened three days in a row and, she was about to lose her cool with this man’s early morning work habits.
The snow blowing wasn’t the only thing this man had been doing early mornings though to get her to this point of frustration. Summer or warmer days included 6 and 7 a.m. lawn mowing, electric hedge trimming and, a radio, hung in his garage full volume which acted like a megaphone blaring out onto the entire street from 6 or 7 a.m. until roughly noon when his work day was over and everyone was up. He’d then, take a nap.
I thought about this scenario carefully and thoroughly.
Jane has a back issue and pain in spite of chiropractic care, heavy medications and physiotherapy, often keeps her awake most of the night. It is often 4 or 5 a.m. before she can simply fall into a bit of a peaceful sleep. Her husband tries to sleep during the mornings and into early afternoons. Jane was not only in pain and getting depressed through lack of sleep but, her husband wasn’t getting his much needed sleep either. Both of them were upset, angry and frustrated with the situation as well as one another. Even I have to admit that this man’s early electronic work habits were also being heard across the street and upsetting myself as well as other neighbours who also aren’t early risers either. One neighbour has a baby who wasn’t sleeping through the night and needed her sleep when baby slept. In short, it has been annoying everyone around the neighbourhood.
The video maker that I watched, had endorsed the idea of speaking one’s mind. He advocated that people not care what others thought yet, was “hurt” by someone else who felt that what the video maker was doing, was unfair to him as it disrupted his sleep far too early in the morning. A commenter on this video, had brought up a few good points. He/she had asked why the video maker was hurt by the fact that someone else had done exactly what the video maker was advocating people do by speaking their mind. It hit me that the video maker was being unfair in expecting that there should be allowances for the endeavours they were setting out to do.
In my neighbour’s case, the man who was out there making loud noises at 6 and 7 a.m., that was a normal time for him to be out there, working. He goes to bed at 9:30 or 10 p.m. and he rises at 5 a.m.. For him, 6 or 7 a.m. wasn’t early and he’s retired so, his time is his time. He can do what he wants, when he wants for the most part. Like the video maker had pointed out to him by his neighbour, the neighbour in my area didn’t take into consideration that he was not only breaking noise by-laws but, he didn’t take into consideration what everyone else living around him might think or feel. He was doing as he pleased, as was the video maker in this case. Truth was, by someone ignoring other people’s possible situations and doing what they wanted, when they wanted, these people were opening themselves up to other individual’s potential anger and the likely hurtful words and actions or reactions that will most likely ensue.
While in theory, it’s all well and good to say “do your own thing, how you want, when you want and not worry about other people or what they have to say,” unless you are living in a cave in the desert with no one else around you, you have to take other people and their circumstances into consideration as well, not just your own. Not only had the video maker not taken this into consideration but, the neighbour in my case wasn’t doing that either. As a matter of fact, the video maker had advocated standing his ground and continuing to do what he was doing at 7 and 8 a.m. no matter what effect it was having on his neighbour. Yet, he was talking about feeling hurt by his neighbour’s words while telling viewers to rise above someone else’s circumstances by changing how to think about it all and continuing to do it as wanted. Wrong idea because I know what happened when the person on my street continued to ignore other people’s feelings, doing what he wanted, when he wanted. It wasn’t pretty, kind or nice.
First of all, no…you don’t need to bow down to everyone and take their flack or put up with everything that they do and, yes…it is more desirable to just stay out of their way and be with people who don’t annoy you but, that’s not always possible to do. We have to live next to these people and we have to sometimes, work with these people. Most of us aren’t retired or living isolated from others. Nor, is that desirable to do. We need other people and we do live (most of us) in communities where we will have others to consider in a reasonable manner as to what we do, how we do it and when. As a matter of fact, the video maker, contradicted themselves in several parts by saying the exact opposites of what was being preached in that video then, telling viewers how to mentally get out of that situation. How about just stop doing it your way and compromising? Did that not cross the video maker’s mind? Apparently not. It seems that the video maker wanted to do things his way and convert other people to his lifestyle or way of doing things.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch here, (not literally a ranch) it took a group of us to go and speak to this early bird neighbour and let him know that others are not as early a riser as he is and his work habits were ignoring everyone else’s rights to sleep later than him and that we all had reasons why we weren’t up at 5 a.m., ready to hear his snow blower, lawn mower, hedge trimmer or radio blaring by 6 or 7 a.m.. Since he was retired, we asked, could he not do this type of work and leave the radio off until at least 9 or 10 a.m., a more reasonable time for loud equipment, doing something else quiet, instead? We met with resistance when he declared that it was his wish to get that done when he wanted to do it. We tried citing the by-laws on the noise factor but that we didn’t wish to call city officials or police but, if he persisted, we’d have no choice but to do so. What became clear was that he really and truly didn’t care. He wanted it his way, on his time frame and nothing we said, no explanation was going to change that with him. This is exactly what the video maker was saying as well about their own choices and yet, couldn’t understand why he had “hurt feelings”.
We still haven’t solved our own issue but, one thing does stand out. When others don’t care about anyone else but themselves, their own wants and needs and, doesn’t take others into consideration, that’s a recipe for not only disaster but, likely hurt feelings as others shun and get angry. It’s akin to the 2 year old who is told over and over again to stop jumping on the couch and getting a smack on the bottom or time out because the child persists in doing what he/she wants. It’s going to happen. One cannot simply change their thinking to suit what they want to do. We have to take other’s feelings into consideration to some degree or another in a lot of instances.
One need not become a doormat, always thinking about what others will think or do if we do what we wish to do but, we also can’t simply ignore other’s rights by changing our thinking so that we can continue upsetting others and do what we want. There’s got to be a balance somewhere and, unless we’re dealing with a difficult person who simply wants to control everything and everyone, we owe it to both ourselves and others to think twice about what we’re doing and how we can change that somehow to compromise to a suitable degree. One cannot be selfish and expect not to have hurt feelings nor, can one always move away from those who bug us or don’t live as we do as the video maker would have us believe. That’s narcissism from my perspective in my little corner of life.
Love, Light and Blessings.