Like if aliens were looking on they’d be like “The male of the species need only nod his head and the female is bound to his command.”
Definitely.
Kel Campbell
185

Like nearly all “aliens would think this” assertions it reflects the writer’s mindset more than the putative aliens. It is entirely possible the aliens could think “look at how subservient the male of the species is, the female did not even have to say anything and the male had do the physical work of oopening the portals for her”. There are indeed men and women alike who would take it that way. Indeed there are many other atttudes we could assign to the aliens. We could say they’d be smart enough to not make snap judgements on incidents like those. But the point of aliens is that they are alien. Anything we say they would think is a reflection of our own thoughts or ideals.

This actually ties in quite will with your earlier comment “I know he didn’t mean it that way but it didn’t stop me from feeling silly”. If we look at this statement further we can see the entirety of how you took this situation was of your own making. This is not surprising really as when we examine our own reactions, and look at the objective facts we can know, about many situations we are solely responsible for how we react.

Where this matters is in applying that understanding. We can not bend the world to our will as there are too many differences — “too many individuals” one might say. Some women would not feel as you did in that scenario, some would even think positively of it (and for many different reasons). Tus there is no “right” way to change others here. So what to do when we can’t change others? We look at ourselves. When we find we are doing something we would describe as “wrong” in others we should then take steps to remove that pattern from ourselves.

Personally, I maintain the notion that assigning intent or motiviation to people despite “knowing” (as much as we can know) it wasn’t their intent or motivation to be a fundamental wrong done to them. Ialso, however, maintain that assigning intent or motivation to people without confirmation from them is unwise. For me it is a basic assumption of malice to do so and a key driving factor in the poor discourse in this country. By assuming wrongdoing we start out in the wrong headspace. In the case, as you described it, you assumed goodness on his part, a great start.

Fortunately, IMO, you demonstrate a level of self-awareness all too lacking among many people today. I’m sure if you applied that and altered your reaction (it won’t be easy or quick but it is worth it) to it you’ll be just a bit happier in general. All too often we create offense where it wasn’t intended or existed and as a result wind up beating ourselves down. We can’t change everyone else’s actions and intentions, but by not allowing our own actions to color otherwise innocent or especially well meaning ones we can take a small but significant step toward healing the rifts that genuinely do exist in our society.

Lest anyone misconstrue what I am saying here, review what was said. There are indeed actions to get upset about. But when you (speaking generally here) know, and importantly admit, that your reaction to something was your own creation — that isn’t one of them. We only have so much energy to devote to the various and sundry causes of our lives. Wasting righteous anger on things of our own creation is taking that energy away from much better causes.

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