Confessions of a hard-ass
I have a confession to make. I’m a hard-ass. Check that: I’m a reformed hard-ass. Here is my second confession: I was wrong. For a long time.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I embraced the old ‘tough love’ philosophy. But, really there was no love involved. In fact, that whole thing is a smoke screen. It’s just a way to be a hard-ass and seem like it’s kind and noble and ‘for their own good’. It’s really not.
Most people really don’t need tough love. They need kindness, encouragement, compassion and honesty. They don’t need to be kicked when they’re down or told that they made a stupid mistake or that they get what they deserve or that if they had followed some particular set of arbitrary rules ‘this never would have happened’.
I’m embarrassed that I used to think that giving people a break meant that you were weak or wobbly or a ‘bleeding heart’. I believed that punitive actions were what ‘those people’ needed. Take away their privileges, make ‘em fend for themselves, teach ‘em a lesson.
I have changed my view. I am finally conscious of all of the help that I got along the way. I’ve realized that my success in life is partly due to luck and circumstances that shined like a beacon on me throughout my life, even as I stumbled. I had a stable family with loving parents. I grew up in a safe and secure neighborhood. I went to decent schools and was able to attend college at my parents’ expense.
Even with all of these blessings and this foundation, I stumbled. I take that back; I fell down, flat on my face into a gutter. Several times. Yet, that support system that had always been there, stood strong and pulled me up and out. Not everyone is so lucky. Not everyone has these advantages.
We all need help now and then. We all fall from grace at some point. Keep that in mind if you find yourself rolling out a verbal beat-down on someone. Keep that in mind as you watch the news and start tossing out judgments against some person or group that you’ve never met.
Being a hard-ass is easy. All you have to do is withhold love and kindness when someone needs it. Or point out their faults or their weaknesses or why their life is in shambles. We’re all one or two acts or decisions away from shambles, my friends.
Be well and lighten up.