Warning: Most of us don’t consider ourselves jerks. However, our assessment is not the assessment that counts. Take the test and see.
Answer the questions using the following scale:
3 – Always
2 – Sometimes
1 – Occasionally
- I am careful not to be associated with people who are obviously less educated, less attractive, or less cultured than me. ____
- I avoid strangers, especially if they are of a different race. ____
- I believe there are some people who do not deserve forgiveness. ____
- I appear to be smarter or more talented than others. ____
- I wish that more people would think as I do. ____
- I think people should show me more respect. ____
- I worry about people taking away things that belong to me. ____
- I feel that it is important to protect my own rights first. ____
- I believe there are a lot of idiots in the world. ____
- I say what I think and don’t hold back. ____
Total your answers.
0-10 Your character is appreciated. Thanks for making the world be a better place!
11-20 Jerk Alert!
21-30 Total A**hole
Nothing is ever as good as it looks or as bad as it seems.
Yet we still squeeze out the last drop of drama by demonizing people and circumstances that have disappointed us. (see social media)
And, despite common sense, we go on to deify other people, allowing our expectations to soar out of the range of possible fulfillment.
The happiest people I know are people who look at the world without illusion, who know that all of us are terribly inconsistent and fallible, who treat good news and bad news the same without jumping to dramatic conclusions, and who build structures of happiness on the inside rather than the outside.
It’s taken me way too long to learn this but I am inching my way there.
I hate to confess this, but I was cranky about attending an event because I knew I would see people there who would notice that I was fatter and older. I guess I thought I would be the only one there who had aged or eaten and drank too much in the last ten years.
But, this whole waste of energy episode urged me to make and keep these commitments to myself:
- Don’t base my enjoyment of any gathering on how I look or how I think I look
- Quit trying to hold on to illusions that I can escape the ravages of age
- Remember that the gift I bring to any gathering is enjoying others (versus trying to impress others)
- Be aware that comparisons to other people for the purpose of patting myself on the back or chiding myself will always kill joy
- Recognize that my favorite people have kind hearts, good minds, and ready smiles (versus any other superficial criteria)
This I know is true:
All of us are trying to get around the block with the least amount of pain.
Most of us are still learning how to do that without shoving other people off the sidewalk.
Sometimes we are completely unaware that we have shoved someone else off. Sometimes we are aware, but don’t know how to get what we want without doing it, so we proceed and justify ourselves.
When I get shoved around by someone else, it is good for me to remember that I have also, at times, been the one doing the shoving.
However, self-righteous, wholesale condemnation of others is much easier.
I have done both often enough to know that I can get to “crazy” frighteningly fast. So, now, when my mind is racing or obsessing, the quickest fix is to:
- Recognize (what is happening as unproductive)
- Rewind (to where I stepped off the ledge into the whirlpool)
- Reprogram (to simple)
Remembering the chaos I have caused myself and others (with no results to show for it) should be enough incentive to begin this step-by-step process, but usually the mind is in no condition to be rational. So…I have to drag myself reluctantly into submission.
When I do, though, it is a quick path to peace.
So worth it.
- Replace a casual critical thought about them with a wish or prayer for their happiness.
- Look at them as friends (you simply haven’t met yet) rather than competitors for resources.
- Give smiles and courtesies generously.
- Hand out compliments when you notice things that you appreciate.
- Show hospitality and gentleness.
Toward Family, Friends, and Neighbors:
- Notice them as seeing them for the first time.
- Forgive them for being human.
- Give the benefit of a doubt.
- Tell them that they are important to you.
- Send thoughtful texts or emails.
Joking that we could all use legal drugs, I told a time-management class that crossing things off a to-do list facilitates the release of natural, pain-killing endorphins. A guy on the first roll, exclaimed, “Wow, I didn’t know that. I’m going to write ‘Get a divorce’ on my list so I can cross it off!”
Not exactly where I was going.
However, the endorphin thing is useful information.
I make lists just so I can cross them off. And, when I do, I do it with passion, even if it is just…
- Get out of bed. Check.
- Wash face. Check.
- Brush teeth. Check.
- Get dressed. Check.
- Smile at the future. Check.
When we give ourselves credit for making progress, however small we consider it to be, we do ourselves (and those who must live around us) a really big favor.
Take it from Roald Dahl, the creator of Willy Wonka, Charlie, and chocolate factories.
The problem is that most of us aren’t aware that the bulk of our thoughts are not bright and what those “dull” thoughts are doing to our faces.
This is so embarrassing but look at the difference this quick face-lift made for me. Which face do you want?
I can’t sing. I can’t fly. I can’t do an Olympic sport (well). But I have words.
I am not powerless. I can use my words to…
- tell myself the truth when I am being pushed around by lies
- shout out for help from a Universe full of guides and mentors
- release my anxiety and pain onto a page
- speak with passion and purpose for those who need hope
I am not powerless.
When I feel afraid, mediocre, overlooked in the “asset department,” or impotent, I can remember what I do have…and use it.
I am what I am and have what I have for a reason. We are what we are and have what we have for a reason. What do you have?