I Would Never

I think it’s okay – good, even – to expect more from yourself than from other people.

An easy mental trap to fall into: take all the things you do because you want to, and then blame or condemn anyone else who doesn’t do those things. People fall into this trap frequently. A common example: you text or call your friends frequently to stay in touch, because you consider that to be something that good friends do. Not everyone is good at that, so you end up getting mad at your friends that don’t reach out frequently.

But that’s just imposing your exact, nuanced worldview onto every other person. People have their own lives and their own motivations and their own moral values, and those won’t always translate into the exact set of actions you would take. In fact, that will never happen.

For good or ill, I expect pretty much nothing from every other human. I never expect anyone else to ever voluntarily take an action that might benefit me in any way. It’s a pleasant surprise when it happens, but largely I treat the world as something I have to rise above. I think it’s better to be pleasantly surprised by a kindness than to be constantly disappointed.

But that doesn’t give me an excuse to act as I expect the rest of the world to act. I can, and do, hold myself to a higher standard. I rarely give advice, because other people need to find their own way most of the time. So even though I have a set of principles by which I live, and I might want to think that everyone would be better off if they also lived by them, I wouldn’t try to impose it. I’ll answer if asked, I’ll write my posts, but I will never judge nor expect. It’s difficult enough to run one life.

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