Projecting Pigeons Perching
Point is just because it is a thing that the mind does is not a reason to succumb to it. Every time I want chocolate I don't go eat it, every time I feel elation I don't dance in the street, every time I feel fear I don't hide in the closet, every time I see an attractive guy I don't fantasize about him or ask him out, every time I feel anger I don't punch someone.
Every time my feelings change because I had a hard day, because I am tired, because I am happy, because I am annoyed, I don't make someone else pay the price for it. When I feel annoyed, it is ME causing the feeling, not the person I happen to be thinking about, or the person who happens to be in the room. Today I am in a good mood and have a great outlook, and so I see others in a positive light; tomorrow something may trigger a dark mood, (especially for those who have experienced pain in their lifetimes), and I may not see others so positively. I may even see them darkly, if my mood is dark enough. My perception has changed, not the person I am looking at. That is the point; I changed, not the other person, the other person is as beautiful as they were when I was in a good mood. It is MY VIEW that has changed, not them. One day I treat them well, because I feel good, the next day I treat them like crap, because I feel crappy, that's not fair and that's not how I want to be treated. And then expect them not to get upset or confused by my unpredictable behavior.
There was a beautiful feral cat in my neighborhood. Some days I was in a caring mood, and I fed the cat, talked to it, tried to get it to come to me. I watched as it moved regally and stealthily through the wilds of the neighborhood, muscles rippling, the sun filtering through its richly colored coat. Other days I was busy and overwhelmed, and not feeling so caring. On these days I still fed the cat, but I did not make a fuss over it, and I seemed to notice the scruffiness more and the gorgeous coat less. The thing is, no matter what mood I was in, the cat remained the same. It was a wild calico cat who did not trust humans. It was beautiful, and dangerous. Just because I was in a loving mood did not change the cat's feralness, and just because I was in a bad mood did not change the cat's beauty. My perception changed every day, but I still fed the cat. And I was aware that, even in my darkest moods, the cat was important to me. When I could not see its tiger-spirit, I knew it was because I was the one lacking that day.
If I change my behavior toward another every time my mood dictates, I am at the very least being a pain in the neck, at the worst downright abusive. And on top of that, do I expect the other to deal with my unpredictable behavior toward them with benevolent, god-like understanding, when I only show them whatever I feel like showing them from moment to moment?
Being too tired to keep plans with someone is about me, not them. It's my responsibility as a normal courteous human being to call the person, tell them I am tired, and offer to make amends, or to change plans, like come over and watch a DVD instead of going hiking. If something better to do comes up and I already have plans with someone else, I don't stand the original person up, that would be arrogant and unseemly. (I might if I had some kind of agenda though, to show dominance, or act out underlying anger issues from my own past..) I would actually tell the person of the other thing to do, invite them, see if they want to change plans. The other person arranged their schedule to accommodate me. Their time is just as important as mine. To think otherwise is seriously misguided, seriously stuck-up. If I am changing plans, I am the one who is inconveniencing them , and if they express disappointment I am certainly not going to blame them, I just screwed up their plans! At the very LEAST I owe them an apology, even if the reason I had to change plans was because of some gigantic crisis that was beyond my control. My reason has no bearing on the fact that I changed their plans by changing mine. They could have done something else, with someone else, instead of having to readjust everything at the last minute AND feeling disappointment. It is common courtesy, and civil behavior, not noble heroics.
What is the point of understanding the way the mind works if there is no intent to do something with the information?
Human Nature is not an excuse. It is something every one of us has to struggle with, not one is above and beyond it. It is a thing that we all overcome in order to maintain civility. So if one wants other people to show courtesy, consideration, and understanding, they would do well to show it toward others first. I want to make other people's lives better for knowing me, not cause them unnecessary sadness.