Self-improvement vs. Other improvement

One way we can avoid confronting our own problems is by focusing on other people and their problems instead.

I know a man who is a talented comedian. He’s a cross between Zach Galifianakis and Jim Gaffigan, though a bit older than both of them. Yet he rarely performs stand up comedy and is very well-unknown (as opposed to well-known, you see.) When I asked him why, he complained that other comedians were using profanity in their comedy, that he was against it and didn’t like hearing them swear on stage. His comedy was “family friendly.” When I told him he reminded me of an older version of Zach Galifianakis, he couldn’t take that as a compliment, arguing that Galifianakis occasionally uses profanity on stage.

While the activist in me admires his desire to make the world a better place by eliminating profanity, I can’t help but wonder why he cares so much about what other people are doing. Yes, it’s nice to care about what’s happening in the world around us and to wish that other people would do what we consider to be better things. But ultimately we cannot control what other people choose to do. And if we keep trying to control other people and getting upset when they don’t do what we want them to do then we end up out of control over our own lives. Our lives need attention. We can’t give our own lives the attention and care they deserve while we’re busily meddling into the lives of others.

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