I used to be an asshole. Now I know there are people out there from my past who are thinking, “I bet you’re still an asshole.” But I also know there are people who know me now that are surprised (hopefully).
It’s all been part of my journey. You see, assholes are anxious and insecure. And they handle it… not well. They handle it by lashing out at others. From my experience, I never meant to hurt anyone, I just treated them the same way I treated myself. Like shit.
For most of us, the voice in our head is our harshest critic. It’s constantly telling us what we’re doing wrong and how we’re too fat, too skinny, too smart, too stupid, and all that fun garbage. If you listen to that voice long enough, it starts to become your voice.
I expected perfection of myself. And because perfection can’t be reached, I was angry and stressed all the time. What’s worse, is that I expected perfection from others. The voice inside my head would say, “Hey idiot, you’re doing it wrong you big idiot!” And I’d deal with that. The scary part was when my outside voice was telling others, “Hey idiot, you’re doing it wrong you big idiot!”
This’ll sound terrible, but it took me a long time to realize that was wrong. I had lived with the asshole voice in my head for so long that hearing the asshole voice outside of my head wasn’t that big a deal. That’s just how people talk, I thought.
As I got better at dealing with my stress and anxieties, I started going easier on myself. Not expecting perfection. I also started going easier on everyone else. At that point, though, it was too late for apologies. Years of yelling at people can’t suddenly be erased by a couple months of smiling. If anything, they probably thought I was smiling because I planned to be even more of a jerk to them.
There are people who when they hear my name still think “asshole.” And I can’t change that. But what I can change is that nobody I meet today will think that.
Is anxiety an excuse to be an asshole? Not at all. Being an asshole is a sign of anxiety.
So if you ever yell at coworkers, or are condescending, or expect perfection of them, take a look at yourself. And please, pleeeeeease, go easier on yourself. Everyone around you will thank you for it.