How to Know if You’re an Asshole

by | May 3, 2023 | Essays, Essays to Myself

I’m an asshole. So are you.
If you can’t come to grips with this reality about yourself, it’s best you take the wildly inaccurate, self-righteous stories you tell yourself about how you are certainly not an asshole and find another essay to read that might feed your ego and continue to keep you further detached from reality.

And, if you happily embrace the idea that you’re an asshole, because you find joy in the chaos you create – if you’re a member of the “proud to be an asshole and make everyone’s life around me just a little bit harder” club – move along. There’s nothing here for you.

Honestly, I don’t know which I’d rather be stuck next to on an 18 hour train ride – the guy that can’t admit he’s an asshole, or the guy that loves being one. Think about it. Each of these archetypes, if I can use that word, is nearly intolerable. Each one brings his own sense of pride and egoism into the world, both running roughshod over the people in their sphere – one blinded to his self-centeredness by ego and the other reveling in the trouble or difficulty he can cause. I’d bet a pound for a penny that those of you still reading this essay know people exactly like these two prolific assholes I’ve just described.

People ask how I can admit that I am an asshole. Simply, I’m working hard everyday to be something else – a better person that makes those around me better. So, the term doesn’t impact me emotionally in the slightest – I am evolving into something more of my own choosing and more consistent with how I want to live and love. I’m an asshole in transition. I can own it, because I’m determined to change. And that makes all the difference.

But, without the self awareness to understand the impact we have on the people around us when living like assholes, men can never reasonably expect to make progress in life. Think about this…if you’re too busy living like an asshole, you probably aren’t out there being an asshole one moment and making meaning or living out your purpose the next. To be clear, there is no unique purpose in life that aligns with being an asshole – asshole. And to be crystal clear, life is purely about purpose and meaning making – period. Everything else is akin to arranging deck chairs on the TItanic. Anything else is, as Shakespear wrote, “sound and fury signifying nothing.”

Ok, I may have buried the lead with this essay, and I hope I have kept your attention, because I want you to read this and really weigh its truth…

We, as men, must confront ourselves and the way we live our lives to find any real meaning in life. In this, the process of “confrontation of self” provides the intense pressure needed to form an algorithm of change in your personal operating system – powerfully formatting and organizing our self-awareness and perspective in what is otherwise a morass of experientially confused and emotionally schizophrenic “wiring” in the confused and twisted shape of a bird’s nest.

To better understand, when someone is being an asshole, the core driver of their actions and/or words is often fear. Something in the environment has triggered an uneasy feeling, often held just below the surface of the conscious mind, anger, defensiveness and a host of other asshole behavior begins to boil over. What is often seen as anger or aggression is, in truth, fear and weakness – what I often refer to as “bad code” hijacking a personal operating system.

Past emotional turbulence and other significant and negative events could very well be churned up and trigger a response. Sometimes, in this way, being an asshole is a type of defensive mechanism borne of a skewed and corrupted perspective (Bad Code). This is sad. Events and/or others with tremendous impact in the asshole’s life had, at one time, convinced him he was unworthy or unqualified to live a life of importance. And while nothing could be further from the truth, those events and people continue to have a great deal of power over us assholes – obviously.

But, it’s up to each of us to deal with ourselves, our past trauma and move forward in a more powerful way. As one of my early Krav Maga instructors once told me, “get your shite in one sock!” Truth be told, I was never sure what that meant, but it sounds like something akin to – get yourself sorted out!

Bottom line – believe it or not, I am your advocate. I want good things for you and your tribe. And I know after nearly 25 years of coaching and training men that a subtle hint won’t penetrate your hard head or the ego you’ve built up over the years. I was and am you – and I want more for you (and me). I want more for your spouse, your children, and your inner circle – but only you can give it to them, and the first step is admitting that you can be better for them all.

And to be perfectly clear, I am positive that you can be better, do more, love more, lift people and support those around you in powerful ways. Start each day with that intention…and stop being such an asshole.

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