When I was younger, I used to love pointing out flaws in things people loved. If I saw a movie others said they liked, I had to come up with some problem of it. “Yeah it was good, but…”
I thought it made me look clever, special, and sophisticated. It really just made me an asshole.
It wasn’t something I did on purpose, either. It sort of blurted out. I have a talent for finding flaws in anything. I still do. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it helps with things like my graphic design. It can be annoying to have, though. I’ve tried to tone it down for the last few years, but it’s tough. Most of the time I catch my tongue before I say it, but sometimes it slips out and I just look like a jerk.
My attempts at not saying those things is part of a wider effort on my part.
One of the most important lessons I learned as a teenager is that people don’t have to like you or spend time around you. Time is the most valuable commodity we have. If you wouldn’t pay good money to buy food from a restaurant you hate, why would you expect others to give you company if it’s not enjoyable?
So a while ago, I decided I would be a person more enjoyable to be around. I stopped making sarcastic comments all the time, and making jokes that put others down. It felt pretty fulfilling at first, it seemed like I was just suppressing who I really was. However, after a while it started to get easier. Not just because I was getting used to it, but because I realised making others feel bad wasn’t really a part of my identity, and what’s more, I felt happier.
It makes sense when you think about it. A pipe used to move sewage is going to start smelling by itself, even if you go months without using it. If you’re constantly criticising, making mean jokes, and complaining about all the things you don’t like, all that negativity is going to start settling itself into your brain like a tumour and colouring your general mood and disposition.
Once I stopped indulging it, the negativity started to wear off and I found myself able to enjoy things more fully. I still noticed a bad piece of dialogue in a movie, but instead of holding on to it, I’d just try to forget about it and continue watching the film.
I can’t speak for other people, but I think I’ve become much nicer to be around since deciding to change that. Not only did I stop ridiculing all the things other people enjoy, I became a much happier person. It’s great to enjoy things you like rather than spend all your time getting upset because of the ones you don’t.
I’m not saying there’s no room for anger, that sarcasm is evil, or you shouldn’t criticise anything ever.
What I’m trying to say in this post is that there is a time and a place to be angry, that sarcasm is incredibly fun, and that criticism of anything wrong is massively important. However, you shouldn’t let any of those things define you. Feel angry at the appropriate times, but do your best to not let it take over you and be everything that you are. Sarcasm is enjoyable, but use it carefully. Not to put down others as much as to make someone laugh. Criticism is important too, but when you find yourself making others feel bad about what they think or enjoy, then it’s a problem.
Everything, in moderation.