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I have a neighbor who always thinks people are cheating him or being unfair to him; that he is somehow a victim.  Is it true?  Let’s take a closer look.  First, is it true that most of the neighbors dislike him?  Yes, that’s true.  But why?  The answer is simple.  People don’t like him because he’s unreasonable and chooses to live his life differently than everybody else.  He also has a conniving way about him and is always sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.

Bottom line; he sees himself as the victim of the exact same behavior he exhibits himself.  He is unkind and unfair to others and the world responds by showering him with the same sentiments.  The world is a direct reflection of his own character.

When I still lived up in Vancouver Canada, I lived on 12th Avenue and Oak Street, relatively close to downtown.  I would take the bus to work each morning and got to know the bus driver for the 7:45 pick-up.  He was a super nice guy.  He was always happy and cheerful, and on the rare occassions when I didn’t have the exact change for the bus fair, he always let me on and I paid the difference on the following day.

One day, I got on the bus as usual and stood near the front.  Because I lived near downtown, the bus was always full by the time it reached my stop so I almost always had to stand near the front.  Anyway, two stops after mine, a guy got on the bus and was immediately rude to the bus driver.  He was mean.  And the bus driver was mean back.  There was no big scene.  It was a simple exchange.  But it struck me that this bus driver who had always been so kind to me could just as easily be mean to someone else.

I remember that day well because it taught me an important lesson.  The world is a reflection of yourself.  If you are a kind person, you probably live in a world full of kind people.  If you are a mean person, you probably live in a horrible world full of mean cruel people.  If you try to cheat the system, you probably think the system is cheating you.  And if you always play by the rules, you probably see justice in them.

I was listening to a radio program once that was all about relationships and why some of them always fail.  The “expert” who was being interviewed said that most people who are paranoid about their partners cheating are actually cheating themselves, or at least yearning to.  Their minds are full of their own thoughts and it’s only natural to project those same thoughts onto others.  After all, if YOU think about those things, everyone else must be thinking the same thing.

The reality is quite different.  Your mind is unique to you.  We all have different views of the world and we each create stories in our minds that justify the existence we live.  We all have to look at ourselves in the mirror each morning and we all find ways to be content with the person we have become.  And if that requires that we blame the world for our hardships, so be it.  If it requires that we see others as cruel, that’s just fine – as long as it’s not OUR fault.

I believe my neighbor lives a very unhappy existence in a very nasty world; a world completely different than my own.  My world is full of nice people.  I’m always amazed at how kind people can be and I have never had a hard time finding a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on.  But that is not true for my neighbor.

He even knocks on my door from time to time, looking for a favor.  It actually amazes me that he is comfortable doing this.  I mean; we’re not friends.  Yet, he has no problem asking me to borrow my printer or water his flowers while he’s away on vacation.  And what do I do?  I try to avoid it.  I don’t want to do those things for him.  He annoys me.  Why should I go out of my way to help him?  Look at me!  I’m playing right into the theory.  I’m usually a nice person.  Really.  But to him, I’m mean.

I spoke with another neighbor just this morning and she wants to lodge a formal complaint against the guy.  I disagree.  He’s already paying a heavy price for the way he lives his life.  He lives his punishment every single day.  Any complaint we lodge against him will only fuel his victim complex and make it worse.  I actually feel quite sorry for him.  I would hate to live his life.

If you’re reading this post, you’re probably alone in front of your computer.  Take a few moments and think about your world.  Is it full of nice people?  Or is it full of mean people?  The only thing you have control over is yourself.  Could you make a conscious effort to be nicer?  I promise the effort won’t hurt.  It can only benefit you and I encourage everyone to be willing to take a look in the mirror to see if their hardships are, in fact, of their own making.

This article was featured in The Fourteenth Edition of the Carnival of Improving Life

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