“You should write some more about your past. We like laughing at you.”

I like laughing at me too, but I also find myself very judgmental of past James a lot of the time.

The thing is that I wasn’t the cool kind of loser who people are pulling for. I wasn’t an anti-hero who was rebelling against unfair treatment or the disadvantaged kid fighting against unfair odds. I didn’t sleep under the stairs awaiting my true calling or lose my uncle to a robber I let go because I was being arrogant. My home planet didn’t even blow up.

I was an annoying adolescent and teen.

I was a kid who needed people to think his life was difficult and tried to paint it that way. I was a kid who rebelled mostly because it got him attention and who desperately needed people to think he was unique, and never in good ways. I wanted to be tough even though I wasn’t. I was a brat with a lot of advantages that managed to snatch defeat from the jaws victory.

Here’s the thing though, all of these things were indications of there being something wrong in and of themselves.

Not something cool that earns you a leather jacket (if this was the 50s) or a Tumblr with a bunch of followers, but something that manifests in ways that leave you cringing at your behavior 20+ years later.

I try to remember this when I meet someone who reminds me of me (these are always the hardest people to deal with, they trigger stuff in us we have to be very mindful about). I feel an instinctive urge to smack them, to shock them out of this behavior that isn’t getting them what they want at all. I have to remember that someone who creates problems and issues or tells lies about their life or is trying to create an identity that does not fit their story is doing this for a reason.

It all comes back to my central belief about people: everyone, literally everyone, is doing the best they can with what they have.

None of us are capable of doing anything without a reason, and that reason makes sense to us. It may be misguided or stupid or selfish to the point of being evil, but it makes sense to them.

This does not mean every action is equal, or that every action is skillful and healthy.

Part of my job is helping people find a way to make these decisions in a better way. In a lot of ways, I often find myself trying to offer others what I wish someone could have offered me, without judgment. This allows me to see behind their actions and their stated intentions to see if there is a better way to do things.

I am constantly surprised by the things people go through that no one knows about, by how many things people keep to themselves that manage to express themselves in other ways.

I try to remember this when I meet people who rub me the wrong way or are annoying or just straight up weird. Everyone has a reason for why they are the way they are.

I would probably want to punch myself in the face though.