Check your change

There was a new girl working in the cafe today, I found the price of the coffee for her and waited politely for my change. She seemed very surprised when I just stuffed it all in my pocket without counting it. I have always believed that people should be given the benefit of the doubt, I am not daft enough to believe that they are fundamentally good, that would be a stretch too far. People are fundamentally people, but I like to treat people with the level of respect and common human decency that I would like to receive in return. I would like to hope that by treating someone with trust and respect, it will spread a bit of positivity around and, let’s face it, we need as much of that as we can get these days.

Now here is my dilemma, I am carrying around a lot of emotional baggage right now and almost all of it is down to me expecting people to be better than they actually are. The option that is most often expressed to me is that I should let everything go, stop caring, and just never expect anything of anybody but thoughtlessness, cowardliness and rudeness. The theory is that by expecting precisely nothing of anybody, I shall never be disappointed and that whenever somebody acts with the slightest hint of humanity, I shall be pleasantly surprised. The thing is though, I know I will definitely still be disappointed with one person, that person being myself.

I would feel a failure being that person, the apathy, the cynicism, the low expectations of assuming that all I can ever expect from people is the least and the worst. That I shouldn’t ever expect honestly, never expect explanations or apologies for terrible behaviour and never expect people to treat anybody well unless they are expecting something from you or are expected to be applauded for no other reason than for not being awful.

Do I need to change? Do I need to be a different person than who I am? Do I need to lower my standards to avoid feeling constantly disappointed by bad behavior? Do I have to drop any expectations of ever getting of any form of remorse or contrition for pain caused and damage done?  Call me an idealist but I thought we were supposed to progress, to evolve as a species rather than roll backwards into the lowest common denominators of humanity. I guess the choice is mine… I just have to ask myself, do I want to be a good person who is often disappointed, or a permanently happy and deluded fool? 

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