Many modern issues of stupidity are actually age-old. Even older than the institution of marriage. Which reminds me: oh, woe are we who are stuck with stuper (short, yet again, for an implacably stupid person) in-laws who practically induce a mental rash from their mercilessly irritating ways. Here’s a letter detailing just that:
I’ve been wanting to e-mail you for a really long time. I keep hoping my stuper problem will go away, but it hasn’t. It’s my mother-in-law, Dayle. I’ve been married to Mike for almost twenty years and during this whole time, Dayle treats me like cr*p. She sends out Christmas cards addressed only to Mike and the kids. She’s never thanked me for any presents I’ve gotten her, even when I made them myself. When she comes over, she sometimes brings a gift. But she’ll repeatedly say that the bottle of wine or whatever she brought is for Mike (and not me, miserable piece of chopped liver that I am). I talked to her about this a year ago and told her I’d really like us to be friends. Dayle agreed, but the next time I saw her, she acted like her usual critical, pompous self. She always talks only about herself. I can’t get a word in and when I do, I’m criticized. She’s not just an old windbag, she’s a cyclone! Even though Mike says I don’t have to see her, I don’t want to hear about her, that’s how much she upsets me. I guess I’m just weak minded. Or maybe I’m the stuper? Am I? What should I do? I don’t like feeling this way.
Thank you, Keli, for taking the time to answer this.
Stupidity can chip away even at minds of Einstein-like proportions (witness Einstein’s many quotes about stupers). If we don’t take control over our own minds, then we will become stupers ourselves. As is it, Sarah is permitting an inferior, seldom used mind to contaminate her own.
I’m very fortunate not to suffer from toxic parents-in-law; only a menacingly insipid sister-in-law. Extended family of this lowly caliber can indeed trigger a rash and even clog our thinking with destructive thoughts, if we’re not careful.
There are ways to prevent idiotic relations from dampening our spirits. And I don’t mean muzzling them with that lovely lavender colored scarf sitting expectantly in the back of your sock drawer. If we are going to be disturbed every time we hear from these unworthy opponents, we are unknowingly entering a trap. One that snares the mind and prevents it from thinking clearly and promoting personal happiness.
Deprive a person of oxygen and he’ll suffocate. Deprive a stuper of his idiocy and the rest of us will thrive. Authentic humans should clear this low hurdle with ease simply by using any of these methods:
1. Treat opponents kindly. Kindness can hugely influence people. Even the vacant minded variety. If you don’t want contact with the stupid among us, then merely think of them kindly. This is a simple and highly recommended strategy because kindness begets kindness. It keeps us in a serenely firm frame of mind and allows us to ably continue our lives. This requires confidence and patience in oneself;
2. We may not be saintly enough to love our opponents, but for the sake of our health and happiness, we should at least forgive and forget them, according to Dale Carnegie. This step is most challenging. The reason we detest the company of certain hollow heads is because we feel they’ve unjustly wronged us. Why should we forgive? Because forgiveness diffuses our anger. Staying angry is like carrying a five-hundred pound sumo wrestler in our arms. The effort is enormous; back-breaking. Is it worth it? Forgiveness liberates the soul; and
3. Ignore them. Refocus on someone less fortunate and lend a gracious hand. This helps promote proper perspective, induces forgetfulness about the stuper and strengthens the soul of the giver.
Each of these methods requires practice and effort. But anything worth having calls for such.
The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.