Against Our Own Best Interest

I recently watched a TED talk that pointed toward why it is human beings act against their best interest. Generally speaking, it’s due to emotions. There are a bunch of things swirling in there but the basic idea is that the rational part of us shuts off when our emotions are involved in the process.

On a personal level, I’m just as guilty as anyone about this particular topic. Often, I make really stupid decisions because it’s for a friend or someone I love. I put myself too far out on the limbs, to the tippy-top scary branches when it’s for one of the people close to me. Similarly, it comes back to bite me. I like to joke about ‘no good deed goes unpunished’, and while it is in jest, there is an element of truth to that sentiment for me. I know that’s not exactly the world’s most positive notion, but happiness isn’t always about positivity… Sometimes it’s just about honesty.

Anyway, honesty is one of those tricky things, I’ve discovered. I watched another TED talk about spotting dishonesty and how to make the world a more honest place. I agree with honesty and it being the best policy, but as the speaker illustrated, white lies must exist to spare the feelings of others. I agree with this as well. Nobody wants to hurt their loved one’s feelings and telling them that the haircut they love makes their face look fat would be more hurtful than the lie.

Of course, there are gentle ways to tell the truth and whenever possible, these methods should be done, in my opinion. It’s when brutal honesty comes into play, can it be damaging to any relationship. I am generally direct but I really strive to be cautious of the feelings of others. With that being said, I have been struggling with some elements of brutal honesty lately. The struggle is that while I appreciate the fact that these people are extremely candid, what they are honest about has been tough to swallow.

Now this is where acting against my best interest comes full circle. I want these people to be happy and remain honest with me. Because of this, I have to act against myself and my own happiness. In many situations throughout my life, this boundary has been extremely skewed and one sided. Typically I’ve been left beaten up when all is said and done. Thankfully I’m learning to extend that boundary and give myself a little more space to deal with issues, so I am less weary by the end. But unfortunately I am still developing this skill. I still find myself at odds with what’s best for myself and the honesty context.

In summary, this is essentially just another reminder that I’m human. I am not necessarily as strong as I think and sometimes I over estimate my capacity to deal with things. On the other hand, human beings are know for coping with more adversity than they ever thought possible, which makes me think that rather than me being a super heroine with human elements, I’m simply a human with bouts of superhuman abilities. I really believe that each of us had this skill, it’s just a matter of cultivating it.



~ by wendemachete on September 25, 2013.

2 Responses to “Against Our Own Best Interest”

  1. This is especially interesting to me given my focus this month on mindfulness and truth. Thank you for the good read. I LOVE TED talks. I will be looking for that one.

    • Thanks so much for the kind words Jean. I’m glad you liked the post. Feedback is welcome all the time, so please keep reading and letting me know what you think.

      Thanks again!

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