The Martyrdom of Empty Barrels.
The Swedish expression “Livets Hårda Skola” literally means “The Hard School of Life” and is sometimes used on, for example, Facebook to show everyone that you’ve been through a tough fight to get where you are today, and that nothing can crush you know and you’re hard as rock and awesome and cool and whatever. School of Hard Knocks and Learning the hard way is other ways of saying this. So basically instead of writing what actual education you’ve done you indirectly whine about your difficult life to seem better than everyone else, all with a dash of bitterness.
I have nothing against people who want to seem better, or IS better, but using this expression means that you’re blaming everyone for everything - and you’re the poor victim, totally innocen and with no responsibility at all. But here’s a fact; you’re probably a racist, a reactionary… or most importantly, just a very bitter person. It’s exactly like putting up wooden shabby chic signs everywhere in your home to show everyone that you’re SO damn happy you need to nail it to the wall. Which often mean you’re not happy at all. And most people using the banner “The Hard School of Life” use it as an excuse to behave like an asshole and be rude, yeah, maybe seeing themselves as martyrs. They have lived a difficult life (which often isn’t true at all, it’s all in their head - they just like the idea of being victimized) that makes it alright for them to behave like assholes.
Okey, sure. If I was a bitter nobody I would easily have used that expression on my social media accounts, blaming it on religious wackos, alcoholic parent, bullying and depression in the back of my mind. But here’s the thing, even if my life has been harder than basically everyone who uses this particular imaginary education of hard knocks to tell everyone about their difficulties, I wouldn’t be the one I am today without all that bullshit.
It’s been hard, but come on? I’m not the one that's bitter or like to brag that “people don’t like me because I’m so honest and outspoken”. That’s just a sign of an empty barrel, noise from an insecure human being. I see it like this; all shit that’s been happening throughout my life made me gain knowledge about humans, and made me see stuff less black and white instead of the opposite.
I think I know what changed me profoundly: a few years ago I got a call from a neighbor; someone had broken into our apartment, stolen stuff and trashed everything in sight. What a shock! If you never had a burglary you won’t ever understand what a traumatic thing it is. It feels like you’ve been violated, not just physically, but also mentally. It’s like someone have entered your life, your mind, and made it all dirty. But mostly I was afraid they had hurt the cats, or have let them out into the wilderness of the northern suburbs of Stockholm. Thanks Satan the cats had hidden themselves under the bathtub! The whole apartment was a huge mess though. Everything in closets and cabinets and drawers and so on was spread all over the floors and we just had to sit there for hours and hours waiting for the police to arrive.
I don’t want to toot my own horn, but the typical Swedish man or woman would start finding a reason for all this. They would without a doubt blame foreigners (which is standard in Sweden, a land where very few seems to want to take responsibility for their own actions) and whining about the forthcoming collapse of the Swedish system. Not me or my husband. We both slowly stepped back a bit, and tried to look at what had happen on a distance. And what we found was something of huge positivity. The thieves had forced us to just deal with all the crap we had gathered through the years, from old clothes to hardly usable furniture. It was like they cleansed the home for us, gave us an insight that this had to be done. They showed us the way.
No, I don’t say the burglary was an awesome thing to experience - but parts of it was great for us and for me. It helped us to clean up, to let go of stuff we didn’t need and also understand that stuff is just stuff. We might imagine there’s value in a phone or in cash or in clothes, but it’s all an illusion.
People who use expression “The Hard School of Life” still live in that illusion. They actually believe that they’ve lost something from being bullied in school, or getting their car window bashed in or being a victim of burglary, but they’ve all come out from it alive and for some reason just can’t understand how happy they should be. Yeah, of course, it’s insane to even have to go through shitty things - but look at it with realistic eyes; it’s almost impossible to NOT experience difficulties - so lets be grateful for what those things can give us.
Refuse to let anyone else interfere with your life. If they steal your stuff and you have no way to get it back or take a decent revenge, just don’t focus on it- it is what it is: stuff. Change your focus to what’s left instead, and if you’re a materialist, just be happy that you can build that empire of stuff for a second time! Learning life the hard way is no reason to be a bitter asshole, this only means you’ve let someone else control your path.
I have a name for people claiming to have gone through the School of Hard Knocks education, I call them Blamethrowers. And like with flamethrowers they stop working without gas, so don’t give ‘em that. Give them nothing.
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