This post, originally written on September 19, 2005, seems to have disappeared from the Country Universe archives when we switched over to self-hosting. I’m reposting it today for the sake of posterity.
I’m starting to wonder if the people I like and can get along with all fall into one category and the people I can’t stand to be around or have a conversation with fall into another. The categories?
1 – You believe that you have a moral obligation to other people, and live your life accordingly.
2 – You look out for yourself primarily, and what you feel is best for you informs any obligation you feel to other people.
I’m sure I’m oversimplifying this, but as I’ve cemented my foothold into adulthood, I find I can’t stomach selfishness anymore. I can’t have a calm conversation with somebody who reveals a complete lack of concern for other people in the process. I can’t stand people who voice opinions without having enough information, or basing beliefs on incorrect information. Yes, I do believe that if you’re a member of a society, you have a moral obligation to be an informed one; indifference to ignorance can cause a tremendous amount of damage.
I thought for a long time that being a good person meant you have to be as nice as possible and as patient as possible with everybody you meet. I thought that being a good friend meant overlooking faults and allowing yourself to be the one with hurt feelings so you don’t hurt anybody else. I thought that being outwardly sensitive meant not being inwardly sensitive.
I forgot the lesson my greatest teacher taught me: “Avoid toxic people.” If someone is affecting your mental well-being, cut them off. It’s a nice lesson. But I’ve adjusted it. For me these days, it’s “Confront toxic people.” Stand up for the truth. If somebody is revealing a complete lack of humanity and/or knowledge, call them on it. They are a poison to society.
Toxic people will single out what makes you special and try to convince you it makes you inferior. Toxic people will take more than they ever give, but when they do give, they’ll make you feel guilty about it. Toxic people will do their best to invoke pity, the most pathetic and selfish emotion there is to invite. Toxic people won’t kill you, but they will drain your love of life.
I’m all for compassion and sensitivity. But if it comes at the expense of your own well-being, you’re being used and exploited.
Yes, this is geared toward some people close to me who are dealing with people like this right now in their lives. You deserve better. Walk away, or confront, but don’t endure those people any longer. You’ll be much happier in the end.