Take psychology AND sociology. There is no point in trying to understand how your own brain works if you don’t understand how others work, both individually and in groups. There are a great deal of people who don’t intentionally act to screw you up, but you will never be able to deal with these people unless you begin to understand why they act the way they do.
If I could go back and say one simple statement to some of the negative people I’ve had in my life, it would be this: When I stand up for myself, or talk about my life, or just simply be myself, I am not trying to win a pissing contest. I am trying to connect to you, human to human.
The most insulting things that have been said to me in the last few years have come from people who criticize me, not because I am actually acting in a bad way, but because they interpret my actions as being motivated by winning the pissing contest. Instead of communicating with people to form stronger bonds, times when I have tried to engage would-be close friends in open dialog about my issues I have been treated like I was being a jerk.
Need concrete examples?
Well then, here they are.
S, news flash. I am not too competitive nor do I expect too much from people. I am not the one who will literally scratch my opponent’s hands and break skin while playing Egyptian War to ensure that I win the round. I am not the one who literally stops talking to friends just because they won’t take my advice or because they aren’t who I want them to be.
H, I don’t have to shut up when showing sympathy for your boyfriend with MS just because you think I’m not nor will ever be “that bad” in terms of my health. I’ve been in chronic pain before. I’ve had to deal with the idea that I would be disabled and permanently in a wheel chair, dependent on others. The sympathy I show to your boyfriend M. is based on a deep desire for him to not have to SUFFER through this, and to show him that me and many others, while we are unable to do anything physically to help, are at least trying to send him positive thoughts. We believe the power in positive thoughts isn’t some kind of magic that should be disdained by people who don’t believe in it, but is in fact encouragement meant to bolster other individual’s own capacity to think positive thoughts, and in doing so, improve their own quality of life.
Researching weight hasn’t necessarily helped me cope with my body, but taking psychology, sociology and continuing to research the human condition through these modes of thought has definitely helped me deal with shitty people!
The moral of the story, to put it briefly, is that it turns out that taking the crown in a pissing contest is a hallow victory. Those who seek this sort of crown, or to sit on a throne of self-important misery, will find themselves doing so alone.