The ‘Butthurt’ Excuse

Yes, I’m aware that the word butthurt has some unpleasant connotations. But I chose it after careful consideration. I hope I can be forgiven.

People are very quick to excuse their own bad behavior. People are blisteringly quick to condemn the poorly thought-out actions of others, but the excuse-without-thought for their own action is of comparable speed.

And it seems that most people don’t even know they do this.

Here is the fly in the honey; if a behavior or action is wrong, that means it is wrong even when you do it.

But wait! You have a reason for acting that way! When other people do it, it is because they are uncouth cretins, but not you! Other people are uncaring, hateful and selfish. But not you, you are making a stand for (insert whatever group/cause/ideology for which you are making a stand).

There is a really big problem with this line of thinking. And if I am being honest – it is a problem that scares the hell out of me when I watch the news. It is a really small step from standing up for the oppressed, to they deserve whatever they get excuses for violence.

While it seems like you are being noble when you use bully tactics against people that you have deemed as bullies, the truth is you are also being a bully.

Bullying is a behavior, not a worldview. It does not matter whether or not you think your victim deserves this treatment. It is the behavior that is the problem. If you take any action of any kind, you can rest assured that your mind will find some kind of reason excuse for why it is okay for you to behave in this manner. The excuse will probably need to go entirely unexamined for you to believe it, but humans are good at excusing their own behavior.

And while I am here, I need to add that the old they do it too excuse is really weak. Again, if it is wrong when they do it, it is still wrong if you do it. Remember; it is the action that is the problem, not the motivation. Lots of horrible things are done in the world by people who believe they are doing something good and noble.

If you ever take a moment to ask yourself how you would respond to the other side if they were to do or say what you are about to do or say, you can stop yourself before you do something inexcusable by your own standards. I wonder often if people even understand how confrontational and threatening their behavior is, or if their self-justification mechanism prevents them from ever seeing that they are doing exactly what they condemn.

And in closing, I would like to note that not everyone who disagrees with you is your enemy. I know it is quite fashionable right now to view any contradiction as an attack, but the truth is that, at least for the mature people, different points of view provide opportunities for everyone to get better. Other people, even those from the opposing side of whatever debate you have turned into your cause, provide a chance for you to gain insight into what the other side is thinking and then solutions can come about through positive discussion. Stop shouting at each other and start talking to each other. I have people that I care about on both sides of every issue out there, and I think if you stopped screaming, you might find that you do too.