People Have Humps

I’ve been thinking about people who have dysfunctional, messy, sad lives. I’ve been thinking about how nobody wants to have a life like that, how nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “Ah, another day filled with confusion, addiction, despair, and disconnection!” Everybody wants to hum along with just their fair share of discomfort and no more. Everybody wants to be “normal” and “happy” and “well-adjusted.” But, I decided, people have humps.

No, not camel humps. Humps meaning bumps. Like speed bumps. Bumps in the road. Humps to get over. And some people get over their humps more easily than others.

Some people have lots of humps, some only a few. Some people have humps they manage to get around or pass over safely. But some people have hump after hump after hump, and they can’t get over them. They try and fail, and try and fail, and some of them decide to just sit down in the dirt and not try any more. They’re the sad, confused, dysfunctional ones—the ones that often get judged as lazy or self-destructive or bad or crazy.

People have humps. I wrote that on a Post-It and stuck it on my computer monitor to remind me to write this post, and my daughter saw it. She drew little hills on the Post-It. Here’s a picture of my words and her drawings:

Now imagine those humps as obstacles in your life. If you’re feeling healthy and positive, they might not look scary. Some of them might even look fun, in the sense of being challenging and invigorating. But if you’re feeling insecure or depressed, they might look very intimidating. And sometimes an unscaled hump produces a new hump—for example, an addiction to alcohol (hump) might lead to loss of a job (hump). And that would lead to poverty (hump), which could lead to crime (hump), and you see what I mean.

So, I guess the point of all this is to say that when you’re tempted to judge someone, to think “Why doesn’t he get out that situation? Why is he so weak?”, think about how people have humps. This nameless “he” might be trying really hard to get over the hump you’re pointing your finger at, but maybe he just made it over three other humps, and he’s really, really tired. Or maybe he’s so sick of so many humps, he’s decided to set up camp in front of this one instead of crossing over it. Or maybe this particular hump looks so huge to him that the possibility of getting past it never even entered his mind.

Look at the person, and try to see the humps.


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Cristina said,

    This is a great analogy. It’s given me something to think about.

    Peace and Laughter,

  2. 3

    Kathy said,

    I like this a lot. I hate how quick to judge another I can be sometimes. Next time I am tempted, I’ll have the reminder to think of the humps analogy. It is so true. And it is also nice to think of the things I am working on in my own life and see them as the humps that they are. Perhaps that will give me the impetus to get over them! Thanks!

    • 4

      sgaissert said,

      Thanks so much, Kathy. I wrote the post with a particular, beloved person in mind, but I’ve been applying it to myself lately, too. When I feel that I’ve failed at something, I remember that it’s a hump, and that it will still be there for me to try to get over tomorrow.

      Best wishes, Susan

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