No Such Thing as a Jerk

Plenty of people act like jerks a fair amount, but I’d say no one is really a jerk all the time.

Moreover, not everyone reacts the same way to the same stimulus. Some people may see certain behaviors as jerky where others do not.

I have an issue sometimes in dealing with others because I frequently see people as meaner or more offensive than I probably should.

Despite all the education I’ve had, and my opinion which contradicts the notion of some people just being jerks in the abstract, I still frequently have dreams that involve me being angry at someone. For example, last night I had a dream where for some reason I was angry at someone I only met once over a Skype conversation, author Myke Cole.

Weird, right? I don’t even know this man. But I think the reason I am still annoyed with him is because I’ve only spoken to him in a context where he was taking me to task about a story idea. You can listen to that conversation on the Roundtable Podcast, Episode 48.

I enjoyed the experience at the time. Even still, my conscious mind has no complaints about that show.

For some reason, my subconscious got riled toward Myke Cole.

Here is what I think happened.

1. I started reading Myke’s novel, Shadow Ops: Control Point, yesterday, though I’ve only gotten through the front matter so far.
2. I’ve been frustrated about a critique of some of my more recent attempts at fiction from my writing group.
3. My hyperactive mind combined these two. The dream was vague, but it left me pissed off.
4. I woke up and ate breakfast, all the while thinking about what a jerk Myke Cole had been, even though I didn’t previously mind.
5. I started writing this blog post and realized it was probably good to work this out for a change, because I often get this way after an anger dream.

The first two points are the source elements of my dream.

But why did I go through this? I HATE anger dreams. I hate them because they make me feel something completely irrational and unpleasant, almost by definition. However, I think there is still something I can learn from this maddened nonsensical delve into my subconscious mind.

Anger at individuals is nearly always nonsense.

If I was angry at Myke consciously for talking to me about a story idea on a show we both volunteered to be on, then I’d be crazy.

The situation is the same in my current criticism situation. I am frustrated with my writing group because they didn’t think my work was perfect. How ridiculous is that? How sad? How pointless? We all joined the writing group to get better as writers. Their assessments were fair and useful. My emotions are useless in this situation because they make my reaction too strong.

None of these people were trying to be a jerk. My mind’s reaction to their help is the only thing making me feel bad.

This must stop.

I will have to be patient, because things will not change all at once.

But I think the solution is not to stop writing. Nor will I stop submitting stuff to my writing group. The way out of the pain is through the pain. I’ll have to get used to it. And I’ll have to stop blaming my feelings on others.

I will face my anger, my outrage, and I will eliminate those feelings in the context of criticism. One would think, in the face of valid criticism this wouldn’t be an issue in the first place. But it is an issue, an issue I plan to tackle.

This post is already growing long for my recent contributions to this blog. I think I’ll wrap it up here.

Have a good day, everyone!

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