Surviving the Game of Life

Posted: November 22, 2008 in Philosophy, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit that I like to watch the television show “Survivor.” It’s full of gossip and back-stabbing, you know, those things I try to avoid in my everyday life. I realized today though that I’m learning a lot about human nature by watching this show.

You see, I guess for the first 40 or so years of my life, I have been quite naïve about human nature. I’ve always believed that people are all basically good or at least they strive to be.

This particular “Survivor” season though, there are at least two people who are really just… not nice … and they are proud to admit it.

One of these players boasts that she is bitchy.

Another one finds something to complain about in pretty much everyone. He treats others with rude manners but when they do it back to him, he thinks they are terrible, refusing to see that he was the first one to act rudely.

There are others that have displayed less than honorable character, but they would argue they are just playing “the game.”

It surprisingly has made me look at the way I interact with people in life. You see for 40+ years, I have walked around with a smile on my face, thinking everyone is friendly and nice (or at least tries to be) – the same as me.

I would be lying if I said that I have never encountered rude, mean, and inconsiderate people. The difference in my life view now though – you know, after that light bulb went off – is that before I made excuses for their behavior…

“Oh, she’s having a bad day.”

“He had a horrible childhood.”

“He doesn’t know any better.”

You name it; I’ve probably used it as an excuse for someone else’s bad behavior.

Now I’ve finally figured out that some people don’t need excuses. That’s just the way they are and they enjoy being that way.

But wait… then there’s that naïve, sweet voice inside me crying out that …I still believe most people are not acting out personally against others, but an event or circumstance triggers something from the rude person’s past that brings out that side of them again. They zoom in on the target of their anger and pain (usually another person), blaming them for their feelings and actions. They even feel justified in the way they behave. Still, they are where they need to be in their path towards spiritual enlightenment….

But my smiling bubble has been burst.

Yeah, maybe I was delusional back when I thought everyone was nice.

Yeah, maybe some people are just mean and they like being mean.

They like the power it gives them.

I am so thankful and excited to be enlightened to the fact that this weekly TV show has helped me to better understand the human race.

I am thankful that my perspective has changed.

If you can play and survive the game of “Survivor” – by understanding other people – you can most likely play and survive the game of life.

  1. Rebecca says:

    I’m with the “old you” in not wanting to accept that this is an unavoidable aspect of human nature. Reality TV has spawned a whole genre of people behaving badly that is really a world unto itself. I think that the behavior being rewarded on these shows: rudeness, backstabbing and betrayal, have made it all part of the “game”. But let’s face it, who would tune in to see graciousness, manners and a sense of respect for life acted out weekly? 😉 I cannot bear to watch these shows, although my SIL does, so I have watched at least one episode of many reality TV shows, which I guess at least gives me an educated opinion!

  2. Cat says:

    I can completely relate to the way you felt when you wrote this. Wanting to believe in the goodness in people yet being exposed to the stark reality that not all people are good. I’ve made excuses for the deplorable behavior of others, too, and maybe that’s part of the problem.

    Sure, we all have bad days but not all of us channel our negative feelings onto others. Why is that? Why do some people feel they have the right to take out their anger, disgust, or any foul emotion on another person? Furthermore, why are others so willing to allow it?

    Maybe we make up excuses for others because we’re afraid to point out their behavior to them. We’re afraid of being attacked, verbally or otherwise, so we find a way to justify their words or actions. We tell ourselves that they are probably having a bad day, or they aren’t feeling well, or that they might be dealing with some terrible tragedy in their lives.

    What would happen if we simply questioned the person? What if we asked them how they were feeling or how their day was going? What if we empathized with them while bringing their awareness to their behavior? Sure, that tactic may not always work but, when it does, it makes you feel incredible. =)