We all see ourselves as main characters in our own lives. Our friends are our spunky sidekicks. Our challenges are designed to test our resolve. In our minds, we are the victims. There is almost always something or someone else to be blamed for injustices against us.
Sometimes, it’s your boss, your ex, your vindictive roommate. But sometimes, it’s you. Sometimes you are the bad guy. You are not very nice sometimes. Just as you don’t deserve other people at their worst, neither do they deserve you at yours. Sometimes you’re the one who stood someone up. Sometimes you’re the one who got frustrated in a store and decided to take it out on the shop assistant getting paid a minimum wage who has been on his or her feet for eight hours prior and is trying their very best to stay professional with you. Sometimes you let toxic words tumble off your tongue.
Sometimes there was no excuse for what you did. There was no extraneous factor that forced you to act in a way that was despicable. There was only you and your choices — the only things responsible for your words and actions. You lost your sense of awareness and you forgot about everybody else around you, who do not serve the purpose of populating your life as mere cameo appearances, but live their own terrifyingly real stories.
We are uncomfortable with the idea that we could be anything other than the protagonist. We don’t like considering that we might have been that ‘bitchy customer’ or the person who stood by watching when someone clearly inebriated was taken advantage of. It’s hard to see ourselves as the antagonist instead.
Your life does not have a set plot line to parallel your mistakes. There isn’t always a cathartic journey for redemption towards the end of the book. The best you can do is wipe down your glasses and admit you were, for a while, a crappy human being. Admit it, take responsibility for yourself, and apologize for it until you are sorry enough to never want to do something like that again. And even then, as much as it sucks, sometimes that’s just not good enough.
But in admitting it, you can learn. In acknowledging that you make mistakes and are sometimes less than perfect, you can begin to evolve as a human being. After all, even the bad guys have origin stories. Even the bad guys can repent. And sometimes all it takes is admitting that something went wrong, and next time, you can try to do better. All anyone can ever ask is that you try.