I’ve been labeled naive and foolish by the pessimists of the world for claiming people are more good than bad and believing they would choose to do the right thing.Â This philosophy and approach to life has led me to witness what is possible and powerful; and also caused me great grief.
I recently attended a sporting event with a new friend, where I was harassed by somebody he once dated.Â Â He had warned me she might be there, but I never suspected she would sit near and glare at us the entire game. Â She attempted to introduce herself and questioned the nature of our relationship in a way that took me aback.Â Â She made claims that attacked his character and integrity and said things that were both unkind and untrue.
It was a sad night for several reasons, but mostly because I realized the dreamer in me had been buried by reality.Â I don’t know this woman or the thought process that led her to believe she was justified to say unkind things;Â and I don’t understand what would prompt her to behave as she did, but I believed she attended the event with the sole intention to verbally cause harm toÂ him, me, or both.
I’ve prided myself on my life-coaching mantra to “seek understanding.” I thought that by doing so, I would seek and find good and that harm would miraculously disappear or be diminished.
But that night I didn’t understand; nor did I want to seek it.Â Instead, I concluded this stranger to be a raging lunatic who had premeditated her offenses against us.Â I have no idea if that is true or false, but it caused me to grapple with my beliefs about humanity.Â When had I become so hard and how did it happen without my knowledge?
A pig farmer once told me that you don’t want to wrestle a pigÂ because the pig always wins.Â You may pin the pig, but to do so, youÂ gotta get in their penÂ and end up with yuck all over ya.
Days later I wonder if this woman was simply surprised and reacting to the idea of seeing her ex with somebody new, or if she had been plotting and scheming about how she could lash out and create an uncomfortable scene.
I wanted to understand, but to do so would require a conversation with somebody I’m not convinced is rational.Â I would have to get in the pen with the pig to understand.
But the pig is not her or her madness.Â The pig I’m wrestling is the idea that to be a a good person and remain true to my philosophy, IÂ must seek understanding and find good in this woman.Â I don’t.
To want to see good and to see good is a distinction that must be made.Â You can want to see good and get yuck all over ya;Â or you can see good by choosing to diminish the harm.Â Life is full of both good and bad, dark and light.Â It’s what keeps us balanced. But life doesn’t require us to get full of yuck to understand.Â We can see the pig fromÂ outsideÂ the pen.
Yes, life is filled with hurt and harm. Yes, there are mean and dirty people who will walk all over you if you give them the chance. But there are good people, with good hearts, who love and honor others and fillÂ the world with goodness, too.Â Learn to discern between the two.
You don’t need to understand or wrestle a pig to know it’sÂ a pig.