The Arrogance of Imposition — Colleen – 10/9/2015

confucius-philosopher-do-not-impose-on-others-what-you-yourself-do-notThe Arrogance of Imposition

9 October 2015

I’m a person with two distinct temperaments. In many ways, I consider myself progressive, forward looking, and fond of finding better ways to get large tasks done. In other ways, I’m an old-fashioned stick in the mud. While many thrive on chaos, I prefer life to be quiet and predictable. My daily endeavors must not vary too often, and nothing must obstruct me from keeping my schedule. This is not to say I’m terrible in crises; in fact, I pride myself in steering the helm with a calm hand. I simply prefer not to face those tests very often.

I have good reason. In the past 25 years, I’ve endured several protracted periods of chaos, periods so bleak I saw no probable end. I did not like the person I became in those times. I didn’t enjoy living like a lit fuse that might go off any moment. It hurt emotionally, spiritually, and physically, too. And in most cases the chaos was not of my doing; all I could do was hang on for dear life. I am therefore conditioned to avoid imminent upheaval. Alas, I sometimes miss the signs and get sucked in without warning, but I’m getting better at sidestepping the Vortex of Chaos.

It’s my survival technique: Avert disaster before disaster consumes you.

Because let’s face it, life is unpredictable enough without our having to endure the occasional upsets imposed on us by people who sow drama. They show up when things are perfectly swell and stir the pot because they thrive on watching big pots boil over. They don’t know how to leave well enough alone, and they certainly don’t know how to smooth growing ripples. People who sow drama live to be the center of all things; the rest of us are merely orbiting their worlds. It never occurs to them that they are sucking the air from the room, causing us pain, and obliging us to take steps to repair subtle damage.

I’ve spoken before of being the Fixer, and I’ve admitted it’s arrogant to try to save others. But it’s equally arrogant of people to impose their chaos on us. As if we did not already suffer the vagaries of life in general, now we must suffer the effects of their deeds. Sometimes they swoop in, upset our loved ones, then leave us soothing their victims. Other times they arrive uninvited, make grandiose statements, start battles and, once we’re all up in arms, they retreat in a huff. Between these two forms of arrogant meddlers, you can’t help admitting there’s a certain nobility to being a Fixer. The Fixer believes he can ease someone’s plight; the Imposer considers his own plight paramount.

Several years ago, I moved from the city to the cornfields of Middle America. I sought a slower-paced life with fewer opportunities for conflict. I’ve succeeded in large part, but then the Interwebs explosion brought the world to my feet. More drama, more fixing, more need for intercession. As an extroverted writer who desires commercial success, I must put myself in the spotlight and endure the results, be they good, bad, or ugly. Naturally, that means I’m back to the old days: craving predictability while shouldering chaos.

Oh well, I can take it. I’m a well-meaning Fixer in an Imposer’s world.

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