I haven’t told many people this, but I have a mantra: “people are stupid”.
The people I have told about this mantra have reacted in ways that I think indicate that I haven’t done a good job of explaining what I mean by this phrase.
I do not mean:
- That I am smarter than anyone/everyone
- That many people are not intelligent
- That I hate people
I don’t mean that only people I don’t know or people I don’t like are stupid. No, unfortunately, many times when I have to remind myself that people are stupid, I am doing this to remind myself that people I love or am related to are equally capable of making a conscious decision to be stupid. They have made some decision to do something ridiculous that hurts me or upsets me because it was easier for them at the time. I just have to remember, people are stupid, and forgive them.
Another reaction I have received is that this is a very negative mantra. I beg to differ. Many times when someone does something completely ignorant and even dangerous, but there is nothing that I can do about it, I am able to “let go” of the anger, frustration, and helplessness by reminding myself “this is because people are stupid”. Nothing more and nothing less. It is not personally directed against me, it is just people being stupid.
For example, when someone doesn’t like how slow I am driving and makes a big show of passing me on a residential street (this happens to me periodically, the residential streets near my house are wide but the speed limit is 35 and I abide by it – no one else does), honking and flipping me off, I just sigh to myself and think “people are stupid”. This reminds me that the person is fully capable of recognizing that what they did was wrong, reckless, and dangerous, but they did it anyway because they are a jerk. That person is acting stupid, but all people act like that.
It is normal, even though it is stupid.
People are stupid.
Repeat after me, and let go of the anger…