The Ego of Knowing

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is how people interact in the method of sharing advice. I’m on this topic because I’ve had friends tell me that they consider themselves in a parental role to me, which is odd because we’re all the same age. It came about because I’d previously parted ways; I’d never found their “parenting” particularly helpful, and instead hurtful. I’d been around 25. What more parenting did I need? I already had parents, and they’d done a pretty good job.

It hurt my ego. “I can decide what to do with my own life!” I thought, again and again (and still do). But not one person had ever done it on their own, except Donald Trump (#jokes).

Recently, we’d all gone out again as friends, and they’d expressed how it had hurt them, my shedding of them. I’d understood, but felt as though I was falling right back into the same patterns. I was also half-tipsy, and it was hard to think. I just listened, and tried not to run away (as futile as it would have been; they drove). I felt like I was being scolded. They felt liked they’d been rejected.

I’ve been having a hard time though trying to figure out how to deal with it. I value the friendship; I don’t value being treated like an adult who has failed to launch. It makes me think about what kind of traits I exhibit to others that makes them think I need it. Do I always look like I’m about to constantly fail? Is it because I talk about my bank account too much?

On the flip side, this is what I’ve done to my younger friends (by like 3 years, as if that makes me any wiser). I see they’re making decisions I would not make, and immediately try to offer my opinion. They’re still alive and successful, so they obviously have been doing something right, or at the least not horribly wrong. I need to back off. Our different personalities, while not clashing, are molded by vastly different life experiences.

The advice comes from a good place. One just wants to help, right? “This is what I’d do” and “if I were you” become staples of this type of guidance. “What you need to do is” is the more aggressive older brother of the former two. But it is unwarranted; sometimes I just want to complain. I don’t need to know how to fix problems; I can figure it out for myself, and certainly we will until we ask for help.

But it’s “easier” to solve someone else’s problems, than your own. “You’d be fine if you just did this one thing” as if each and every one of us is a clickbait Buzzfeed article just waiting to be read. If problems were easy to fix, there’d be no point in bringing them up (other to complain, as I do). Because we don’t understand the surroundings and background of the problems, it’s easy for us to paint a solution that comes out looking like one of those really “modern” pieces of art. No one gets it. No one wants to look at it.

(Sidenote: please look at my art exhibit. I painted the word “patriarchy” and “corporation on piles of plastic trash glued together with Elmer’s. #symbolism)

I read this article just now from @JazmineDenise that really resonates with my behavior. In my life, my method of operating was to give people a chance and then once I’d had enough, simply stop reaching out. (why-cutting-people-off-for-making-mistakes-isnt-always-right)

It doesn’t really help anyone to do that though, does it? I’m not helping myself, and I’m not helping them. Again, there’s a background and surrounding the problem I’m having that only I seem to see and if I can articulate it, then I’m just as much at fault for letting it happen (even though that sounds like #victimblaming, because I’m truly the victim here, right? #jokes).

Maybe what I need to invest in are some skill points in forgiveness for what I perceived as being wronged, and ask forgiveness for the wronging that I’ve done.

You know, if I can shove my ego to the side. It’s pretty large at this point.

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