The other day I was having lunch with a friend and the topic of ‘jerks’ came up. It came up in the form of ‘why are people jerks?’ He made an excellent point that it is actually harder to act like a jerk than it is to be kind. So why are people jerks? So I thought about the last time I was a jerk. (Let’s face it we all have moments we are less than our best.)
So I am an extremely kind, usually laid back person. I attribute that not to my own personality but to meditation and fighting the good fight on keeping a decent balance. Last time I was a jerk, I had missed meditating for a few days and hadn’t been sleeping much, basically my life was whacked out. So I entered the kingdom of jerkdom. Why was I a jerk? Because I was confused and uncomfortable with what was going on around me. I felt I had no control (which was correct, because we rarely do.) I felt very open to being the target of anyone and everyone’s whims. I reacted. I reacted poorly.
Isn’t that what being a jerk is about? Reacting poorly when we do not have control of ourselves? Being a jerk can make us feel like we have at least some control over something or someone. Ironically it is a statement of fear and the inability to manage even oneself. Because of this Lee Iacocca was correct when he said, “If a guy is over 25 percent jerk, he’s in trouble.” Not for what he does to others, but for what he does to himself.