Ever stop and realize how much power we give to the negative? A high profile person gets a negative allegation tossed his way and he’s forever known as that guy. A guy acts a little strange a couple times after months of a perfect dating scenario and he’s disowned and forever labeled as that guy. A kid cheats on a test one time and is forever academically labeled a troublemaker and is branded as that guy.
The spectrum is wide, from things that will never affect me personally to things that I’ve been directly a part of. The list is much longer than I have the desire to dive the depths of so we’ll work with what we’ve got.
I will start by saying all of it bothers me. The world we live in has functioned this way however, possibly always. Why do we focus on the negative? How backwards is that, truly? If someone is a certain way and lives a certain way and behaves a certain way, with this certain way being a good, functioning part of the upper food chain, why does one of his faults become who he is? Why isn’t he rewarded and hailed an amazing person for “being good and normal” for the 39 times you see him? Why are the 3 times and at the very end on the outside, why is that the definition of who this person is?
I recently had my van repossessed. Not my finest moments but instead of hiding it, I actually posted about it. There is therapy in writing out my thoughts. Anyways what I’m saying is (and I get the stretch here, folks and how things work. The concept at the center is what I am aiming for) out of the three years I was making bi-weekly payments, I missed maybe 3 of those and that was that. I successfully made 75 out of the 78 payments but because of 3 failed ones, I had my van and my dignity stripped. Why wasn’t I applauded in regards to the 75? Isn’t that kinda something to be celebrated? Apparently not and I am now forever known as a guy who lost his vehicle due to irresponsibility, in the eyes of that bank and many other future creditors that might view this information.
The ended relationship
Take another look. Without many details, a recent relationship ended oddly. In trying to pick up and move on, I overreacted about a few things in two, maybe three conversations. In the three months we had dated, we cared for each other dearly and expressed the desire to be together forever. She was mine and I was hers. Not one solitary fight or even miscommunication went down between us. In the end, a bomb or two had gone off and subsequently I freaked out and acted weird, I’ll admit it. Made things awkward and I don’t even know why but that’s not why I bring it up. Subsequently, she chose to block me from her phone and social media. That was it. Three plus months of literal heaven. Then 3 weird conversations.. and I’m written off, signed and sealed. After her confessions of long term love, she must consider me the biggest jerkoff in the world. Makes zero sense but again, time and again, this is our world, friends.
The typical employer
This one has made a shift over the past few decades for the better, which should give us hope that not all systems have to permanently stay the same. Like parenting, often times our employers will rarely ever bring up or point out your successes or the little things you accomplish. They let slide the day to day victories you provide their company and the way you do it with a smile. One small slip up and you’ve nullified everything positive that you’ve brought to the table. Now you’re that guy in their minds, as though the term “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch” is necessary fodder. Why this is prominent in their minds when they hear your name? I don’t know but I am dead set against it.
That last example has improved lately, with all the new human rights and lawsuits and whatever else has made it into what it is today. So can every genre of situation and scenario like I have listed be one day remedied to let the rare, miniscule negatives not take presidence?
There are exceptions to what am I referring to, of course. Take Harvey Weinstein. Here we do not have a two or three time slip up. It is a careers worth and so it is fair to paint such a person as that his very character and his very nature are in the wrong. That, here, is not what I am talking about. My plight is for the good guy. For the good student. For the responsible adult. Those mini-missteps should never define the memory of a person and should never take ownership of their good name.