One can be both exceptionally smart and stupid at the same time; the Sheldon character of the Big Bang series comes to mind: Bright, but with not one lick of common sense! While situations involving him can be hilarious for the viewer to observe, there are people in life who have chosen coping strategies that complicate their lives as much as Sheldon’s being Sheldon complicates his, but which are not so funny.
For instance, there is man whose parents divorced when he was a very young boy. He lived with one parent until he inevitably got into trouble, at which point he was shipped off to the other parent, who when the boy got into trouble, shipped him back to the other parent again. His whole childhood he ping-ponged back and forth. The clear message that his heart understood was that he was not wanted, and that he was not wanted because he had no worth. With such a childhood, it comes as no surprise that as an adult he surrounded himself with 19 bull mastiffs who help to keep the world at bay. The animals are huge and in the process of destroying his house and relentlessly complicating his life, but when asked why he lives that way he responded, “Because they want me and need me.” No matter how an outsider may view it, to his heart this solution makes sense.
And then there is the woman who says of why she ran away from home so young, and stayed away: “I didn’t want to know any more that my mother hated me, and I yet couldn’t make her love me.” Her solution to the pain in her heart was to surround herself with 87 cats, which she kept confined within the house, causing the whole house to, in essence, become one giant litterbox! When she finally accepted help and the cleaning crew arrived, the house was so filled with filth that almost nothing in the house could be salvaged; as a result, in order to “clean” the crew had to use snow-shovels. Imagine, cleaning your kitchen, your living room, your bedroom… with snow-shovels! When someone asked the woman how her life had become such a shambles, the woman replied, “I don’t know. I don’t know how it happened.”
There are reasons for doing what we do, even if we are ignorant of them. No one of us is born knowing what our heart’s mysteries mean; it is the common lot of us all to struggle for self-understanding. When we read about the above two individuals it is clear to us that they became stuck and it would be easy to look down upon them, to view them as being inferior to ourselves. While we may not try to soothe the pain in our own hearts with either pitbulls or cats, nonetheless we all have ways of distracting ourselves from the confusion in our hearts: Over-work, booze or drugs, promiscuous relationships, filling the house to the ceiling with beanie-babies. The impulse to soothe our pain is common to all of us: Some solutions help us to get through, and some solutions help us to get stuck.
Let us ask ourselves: Why do I choose what I choose in my life? Am I trying to compensate for some pain in my heart? Is there a better way to try and understand myself?