Yesterday’s post on love and language and Chapman’s work felt entirely contradictory to how I was feeling. Not what I wrote about the book, but the discussion about how we feel and our standards and expectations when it comes to communication. I have a deep love for the potential we all exhibit and a profound anger for what we choose to exhibit. I have a lot of confusion around human behavior and motive as well as the whole premise of systems and hierarchies.
10 years ago I thought I had it all figured out and that the way things functioned made sense. It felt like there was a sense of purpose, even amidst frustration and monotony and the occasional outburst, it felt like I knew my role and what I was doing. Slowly I noticed that even when I did what I was supposed to, the results I expected didn’t show. With more frequency, I noticed that most of what I expected didn’t happen. Then I noticed that greater demands for less return were becoming the norm. And, really, that has worsened year after year. It felt like no matter what I did, I couldn’t get ahead. And for the last four years, we watched as each system revealed itself for what it really is: a machine designed to keep the rich rich and the disenfranchised unable to catch up.
Then last year the entire world was turned upside down—and we were given the choice to protect our systems or protect our people—and we’ve been living in that state of awareness with no direction to change it for over a year now. At work yesterday, while driving, while in the store—pretty much everywhere—I felt incredibly angry. All around me, in spite of what we have experienced in the last year, people are still so entitled. I can’t fathom for anything how people can still feel they have the right to make any kind of demands resembling anything close to where we were. The sheer arrogance of people believing that they have any say in what happens anymore is insane. The delusion that this goes away because of a vaccine. All of these things feel like living in the Twilight Zone.
So, with this much frustration and anger, how do we still find and express love? I found myself not in the least bit willing to figure out what people needed—and I know now that it has to be a boundary for me. When people make demands out of fear, they are angry and irrational and I refuse to be part of the problem of giving into people who aren’t rational. I refuse to give into people who forget what we are all going through right now and remain so self-centered that they can’t see what they’re doing.
I also know that a boundary for me is that I can’t spend my time telling other people what they’ve done wrong—I’m not the behavior police. But I know with both of those boundaries that I don’t have continue to expose myself to those situations. Making demands on others isn’t love—it is suggesting a hierarchy and that their perceived needs are more important that you. I know that the most loving action I can take in those situations is to walk away because I would not contribute anything of value in those cases. I respect where other people are coming from because in healthcare, everything, every emotion is heightened. But I do not respect people who demean others or degrade and disrespect them in an effort to get what they want. No one has to tolerate that.