“and” – a personal reflection on human behavior

Donald Trump’s unremitting Twitter tirades about anything and everything that irks him and anyone and everyone who besmirches him and last week’s release of an 2005 Access Hollywood video of his hot-mike (didn’t he know he was being recorded?) self-revelatory ruminations about his view of women stirs in me a number of thoughts.

One. The difference between the public square and one’s private space. In the former, our social mores and laws (rooted, flowering, and ever-evolving throughout an ongoing human history of life lived in community) demand more of us in terms of civility and that nebulous designation (though, I think, most know it when they see it) of “common decency.” In the latter, we enjoy more freedom and, indeed, oft take greater liberties to say aloud and show outwardly our innermost thoughts and feelings.

Two. The occurrence is frequent enough to be commonplace when the boundary evaporates between the public realm and our private worlds and we say and do in communal space what ought to be cloistered (again, in the light of a shared sense of civility and common decency) within the our most personal spheres of existence.

Three. When that happens, and with Mr. Trump’s aforementioned vulgar tour de force in mind, I find myself responding in two vastly dissimilar ways: shock and sympathy (yes, sympathy). I am shocked at the crudity of his language and, even more, his brutalizing dehumanizing objectification of women. I sympathize, looking at myself through the bright lens of searing self-confession, as I recall moments when I exhibited in word or deed less than virtuous attributes of compassion and care, less than righteous attitudes of love and respect for the God-given dignity others.

Four. At the risk of seeming to trivialize Mr. Trump’s comportment as an object lesson, I am led to a renewed consideration of what constitutes – not mature (for I view the word as wholly subjective, its definition easily given to individual experience and example, observation and opinion), but rather – healthy and helpful (meaning that which benefits, indeed, blesses all) conduct.

Five. One idea among many (and speaking always and only for myself)… Healthy, helpful behavior commends, commands that I, concerning my thoughts and feelings, my wants and needs, develop and maintain knowledge (that they exist) and understanding (how they manifest themselves) and express them in ways that strengthen and sustain my relationships with others, verily, that strengthen and sustain others, both of which only others can confirm.

Six. What for you constitutes healthy, helpful behavior?

Seven. Asking the question of myself, I will continue to think about it. More to come…

2 thoughts on ““and” – a personal reflection on human behavior

  1. Paul,

    Thanks for this post. I think we’ve all had occasion to question our own conduct after we’ve said or done something we wish we could take back. You’ve asked a great question of us – what healthy and helpful behavior really is. I’ll have to think more on this because I do struggle with my behavior at times. I’ve never said anything about another group of people as what Donald Trump said on that tape, YET I do wish there are things I could take back that I said in anger.

    We all want great relationships, and I believe the only way to have great relationships is to be open and honest and to as you say “confirm” with others that the way we behave is acceptable, and IF NOT what can we do or change to make it so. There are currently people in my life who I don’t believe I can honestly share with them that elements of their behavior bothers me greatly, and they may feel the same about me. A Healthy relationship to me means both parties “grow” in the process. it has to be mutual. Helpful to me means that you make the person better in some way – either they are sad and you make them feel better, or you share with them that their beehavior is holding them back from greater success – such as in a job setting.

    I think relationships can be Healthy at times but not helpful and vice versa. I’m thinking about whether or not once a relationship is damaged severely because of a particular behavior it can be salvaged or repaired. I guess most of us would wonder that and care about it. What I’m not sure about is whether Donald Trump falls into the category of caring about how his behavior – particularly on that tape – has impacted women. Only he really knows for sure!

    Thanks again for the very thought-provoking post. It’s a different angle and perspective than what’s been discussed about the tape.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As ALWAYS, Loretta, your reflections share dimensions of something I’ve considered and written that hadn’t occurred to me and, therefore, sharpen my thinking…

      In this case, I especially like your embellishment of what constitutes healthy and helpful relationships AND your making a distinction between the two (Hmmm, hadn’t thought of that, for I used “healthy” and “helpful” as synonyms).

      I also like much your naming mutuality as an essential element of good relationships.

      Thank you and, as I closed the post, more to come!

      Liked by 1 person

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