Friday, March 16, 2007

Check Your Motives at the Door

David and I made a policy decision. We are never mentioning any member of our families who is not immediate. That means, I will continue to write about my extraordinary son, his fabulous wife, our zany daughter, and probably my brother and his incredibly beautiful and smart wife and daughter. And Mom, of course. David will reflect on growing up as a Jew in Salt Lake and he will probably mention his mother – on occasion. But that’s it. I am going to talk about friends. And I am going to talk about politics and life – but no mention of family. It gets me into trouble. And just FYI, it hurts my feelings when people think I would say or do anything to intentionally be unkind or harsh. It really hurts my feelings. What would motivate anyone to be cruel?

When I started in politics the first thing I learned was to assess the motives of the people who wanted to be involved with the campaign. Some wanted fame or glory. Some wanted attention. Some wanted to parlay their relationship with the candidate into a money making venture. As I moved along the highway of life, (can’t you just see me riding in my jaguar waving to the cerfs), the ability to figure out personal and professional intentions became a part of my expertise. People hired me to figure out why someone would want something—anything.

It may sound trite but my intentions are always good. No one who is ill intended can assess motives because they will always be suspicious or paranoid. I try never to say or do anything that would make another person unhappy. Sometimes I screw up, but it is never intended. And that doesn’t make it right. It’s just what happens because no one is perfect. For example, I have friends that try to be complimentary. They try to say the right thing but it never quite gets there. You know who they are. They want to tell you your hair looks good, but it comes out like your hair always looks terrible and this is a nice change. They don’t intend to imply that you need a new comb. But you think you should buy one—and that hurts your feelings. Sometimes I say or do something stupid or wrong but it is not ever intentional. Like, I didn’t mention that Seth and Joyce were having a baby, on one blob, and he felt slighted by it. It was not intentional. But he felt terrible. And of course, I felt terrible about hurting his feelings. But we got beyond that in an attempt build a better relationship.

All people do not have inherently good motives. There are people who are not nice and intentionally do and say things to hurt feelings. Take for example Laura Ingraham, just one of a handful of despicable money grubbing political liars. She happens to be a Conservative but there are Liberals who play the same role in stirring up trouble. When Laura or one of her other colleagues says something, you know that their intention is to hurt or attack. They are reviled by their opposition and that’s how they make their money. I don’t know how they look in the mirror but that’s not my problem—I don’t want to be invited to their bathroom.

And we all know people—let’s not call them friends—who find it physiologically impossible to say anything nice about anyone or anything. I have always wondered, by what they were motivated? And why would anyone want to be friends with them. A psychologist friend of mine said it was because some people hated themselves and when they were around individuals who had nothing nice to say, it reinforced their self-loathing. But that’s too much thinking for me. It’s like when you meet a terrific woman and she’s married to a son of a bitch. The first thing I think is—why would she put up with that. And the second thing I think is, only a really nice person would put up with it. It, like so many things in life, is not uncomplicated. But we’re getting off the motive track.

When someone lies to me professionally, and I know it, I wonder why they lied. How would it benefit them for me to think something they said was true when it wasn’t? Did they screw up and are trying to cover for it. Are they trying to get someone they don’t like into trouble? What will they get if I believe them? When someone says something unkind about a friend, I will always ask why they said it, and what do they mean. I assume they misspoke or they didn’t mean what they said... I hope they’re not that stupid. And, I think, why would anyone say something bad to me, about someone I love. I assume that it was not intentional until we have had a conversation. In my own Pollyanna way, I look for the good in people – not the bad. And while my friend (not family) Soozie says I see the glass half full—I never think the glass has a chip or is dirty.

So you have the motivated and motivators. Or the good guys and the bad guys. They are easy to tell apart. The good guys say I’m sorry and they mean it. The bad guys always think they are right and they never put on tap shoes. And maybe the bad guys are also people who are unforgiving, assume the worst about people, and don’t ever want to know any truth. We’re just sayin...


Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

Hello Iris, maybe your family is feeling a bit uneasy about strangers having a glimps in to your family life. Just put out the word, and Ill delete my link.

Or maybe its time to change your blob address.Totally understandable.

I hope you can get back to the good o'l days of egg recipes and Martini stories.

Bizzare thing that this internet does: seeing common joys/struggles of others somehow lightens the load, but I guess at a price thats too much for some.

I hope your mother is well. Been there myself. Not easy. Took a while to realize most of its out of my hands anyways, just let it all go and loved her the best I could.


Bless you guys,

Anonymous said...

The number of those out to commit cruel acts,unfortunately,outnumber those of us who endevour to do the best we can possibly do for others.
I am personally sorry you were (hopefully not still presently)receiving such communications. Some 'people' simply LIVE for the opportunity to go into attack- mode,which still beats the hell out of me why.In this case, I can see where THEIR glass is always EMPTY,as their soul likely is..Now, I am not the most articulate,but that's me..I still don't know about my own mom's a day-to-day thing, along with other stuff.Sometimes I wonder if the bumper sticker with "@*#! Happens" actually applies to me. We just have to carry-on. You are in my thoughts. Take care.