You’re Probably a Piece of Shit, Just Admit It

How often have you posted vague Facebook statuses or written tweets about people in your life you dislike? Not that often, right? Well guess what, if you have once–just once–you’re a piece of shit. You’re a turd. You’re a cretin and you deserve to know it.

How often have you overlooked homeless people on the street begging for change because they scare you? Often, right? More often than you want to admit? They’re just going to use the money to buy heroin, you say? Wait, you didn’t say that. You didn’t say anything, you probably just agreed with me mentally because if you verbally disagreed with an article that would make you a fucking lunatic because this article cannot respond back to you. Also, it doesn’t matter if they’re going to buy heroin. If I was homeless, I’d probably use heroin to nod away my troubles, too.

Look, let’s face it. We’re humans. We’re scummy. Stop pretending that there’s ‘good people’ and ‘bad people.’ Neither exist. We’re just people and we make decisions based out of self-interest 24/7. Even when you’re lending a helping hand, you’re acting out of your own selfish desires – because you want to see people you like (or think you might like) do well. So quit lying to yourself.

How can you change this? The answer is simple yet difficult for many. It’s all a matter of showing self-awareness. The problem is, the only way to obtain a certain level of self-awareness and see through your flaws is to undergo extreme humiliation (probably as a child.)

But we’re from the most coddled, over-comforted generation in human history. We ban books, demand trigger warnings, and act like we’ve been victimized the moment anyone expresses an opinion that differs from our own.

Did reading the two sentence above offend you, ever so slightly? Do you want to reply to this right now with a self-righteous ‘yawn’ and rolling of the eyes, perhaps complimented by a sarcastic remark like ‘how edgy’? Do you disagree with any of it? If you mentally check marked any of those three questions, you’re part of the problem. Not just because you answered ‘yes’, but because you’re likely too afraid to speak publicly about your standpoint and the fact that you are, earnestly, annoyed.

Now, Fred, doesn’t that kind of combat what you wrote before? That people shouldn’t be so uptight? That we shouldn’t be so offended?

It does not. Because you should be free to voice how you feel. You should be free to tell me that I sound like an asshole right now. To quote our president Barack Obama, “It’s what makes America great.” However… I can acknowledge my attitude, I can acknowledge your comment, and I can also dismiss it. That can be the beginning and end of the exchange. It won’t carry on because I accept who I am. There’s no illusion here that I am a good person fighting the good fight to keep our society and morals upheld. Your offense is a misdirected offshoot of a desire to be good or be considered ‘good.’ But you’re not. You’re just a whiny little shit on the internet, just like me. And you’re bored.

The goal here is to flee our self-abortion and look at things honestly. There is a truth lying at the center of your brain and a rim surrounding it. You ignore the truth to believe the rim. You’re passionate about the rim. The rim gives you a narrative, it gives you something to do, it prevents you from being bored. The rim keeps you focused on your job, your hobbies, the relationships in your life that you care about, and the relationships in your life that you only slightly care about (or pretend to.) You block out the noise of reality, the real problems and the real reasons why you think and act the way that you do because what the rim offers is far easier to digest.

It’s a socially acceptable way of building a mind-casing skewed to the reality you want to believe in – but not the true reality. Shoplifters, drug addicts, and serial killers do the exact same thing to a far greater extent. The felonies committed do not come to mind except in instances of joy, desire, and danger. You, the reader (who I presume is not a shoplifter, drug addict, or serial killer), like many only take note or show empathy when you get too close to whatever truth you’re blocking out. Everything is two-dimensional until it’s looking you straight in the eye.

In this case, it’s that human beings are human beings – that nobody is a monster and very few are incapable of feeling pain, sadness, or utter disdain for a person(s), place, or thing. Empathy is the great, big band-aid our world is in dire need of. Moreover, the ability to drop the notion that we’re somehow better than any person we’re judging.

If you want to cease being a piece of shit, follow the instructions below:

  • live and let live
  • do not judge too harshly
  • do not try to force people to live by your personal restrictions
  • spend more time helping rather than critiquing or ‘dragging’
  • if you see something you dislike, do not complain as negativity only reinforces the opposition – create to combat
  • eat a bologna sandwich

I don’t expect you to live by those rules religiously because you’re not a cyborg, you’re a human being with thoughts and emotions and moments of contradiction and ego-driven hypocrisy… but you should want to try to. Know your truth and be as honest with yourself as possible. You might not like the person you see, but you can change them. You can make yourself better. Focus on the things you genuinely care about. And care about a lot of things – but really care. Filter away the irrelevant. Do not get hung up on things that make you angry because in 3 days time they probably won’t matter or even come to mind. You might not be great, or even good, but you can be somebody that makes living better.

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About Fred Dickerson

Fred Dickerson is a writer from New York.

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