Armchair psychology has its own tools and trends.
A few years ago, someone wrote a book about the Sociopath Next Door, and then there were many conversations between non-professional therapy-ing humans about sociopathic business people, and neighbors and spouses and all sorts of folks we all met or knew who fit a certain ‘profile’.
I was certain Fred might be sociopathic, because when it came to our human food he did not exhibit any guilt whatsoever when he could get to it, and I knew he would let us starve to death. That is a lack of empathy (which totally means he was a sociopath).
Then, a few years later, came The Narcissist Next Door, which I thought might have been written by a narcissist who was trying to gaslight the lady who wrote the sociopath book by choosing a title so close to it. I have no evidentiary proof (but it totally fits the narcissist profile.)
And there have been all sorts of books and articles, not even necessarily from the psychology perspective alone, on everything from introversion (I liked the one called Quiet) to books like Blink! and Outliers (loved them both) that seem to enter our collective societal consciousness and the ideas become part of our everyday conversations and assumptions, like ‘I takes 10,000 hours of doing something to master it’ or ‘A tail held vertically but moving forward and then back to vertical means ‘f you”
Wait, that last one had to do with cats.
Anyway, recently one of these armchair psychology concepts entered my own consciousness – it wasn’t the first time I’d heard it, but I was reminded of it – when one of the Real Housewives of Orange County (don’t judge!) could not stop saying it over and over and over again over the course of one season…
Liars assume that everyone is a liar.
And, of course, she was lying her arse off at the time (come to find out at that season’s reunion, which I am telling you was a real doozie).
But here’s the thing.
I have heard that particular saying so many times in many forms… ‘liars assume everyone lies’, ‘cheaters believe everyone cheats’…
And I do actually get the concept.
In order to feel okay about lying – and I mean a ‘real’ lie, and not when I tell Blaze that her tiara does not make her look fat – I would need to believe that everyone lies (or cheats or or or). That’s psych 101 right? That, in order to not hate myself for doing something awful, I would need to believe that the people around me – especially my ‘victims’ – do it too. And that somehow this makes it okay.
But I always had an issue with the Real Housewives lady (not just because of her Botox) who was coming at it from that direction… liars believe everyone lies.
It seemed like a pessimistic springboard for a pretty cool concept. And I realized, I don’t really ever seem to hear it coming from the opposite direction or, if I do, it seems to connote humans behaving in that way that make them the perfect target for con artists (or sociopathic or narcissistic or other “ic” people that I would have to look up). But I’m gonna say it the way I see it.
Honest people believe the people around them are honest, or are at least capable of it.
And I’ll go further.
Gracious people believe people are gracious.
People who delight in wonder…
Who are able to find meaning in the dark, and without a flashlight.
They are not necessarily naive… nor are they fundamentally unsophisticated, unstudied, uncorrupted, or unworldly.
But they do tend to be one ‘un’, at least most of the time…
Some of the most joyful, present, gracious, appreciative people (of life and others) I have ever met have stared into the abyss, hung out in the crucible for a while (often more than once). They are not false, or perpetuating a sham.
They have seen into life’s dark caves, tumbled down its perilous cliffs.
The cracked or flawed or otherwise broken, but genuinely joyous? They are my favorite flavor.
Because they’ve really fought for it.
They are often the ballast in our lives (Hell, they are often the ballast in the world).
They dance in the light and invite others to join in…
They expect others to join in.
An unshakeable faith in that which is kind and good and thoughtful, magnanimous and grateful and charitable… selfless and just plain delightful… that stuff?
It totally kicks the ass of the opposite in this world… or in this place… or in this day.
This is not weak or fluffy stuff.
This is a powerful point of view.
Sometimes this particular point of view has to fight, big time, to win the day.
But I have its back.
And I know, even when happenstance clouds my eyes and brain, it has mine.
Thanks for readin’.
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