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Keep It To Yourself


Being mature works most days, but I hate to admit I occasionally relate a little too closely with the bully Nelson Muntz on the Simpsons. Sometimes I really just want to release a well-placed “Ha-Ha.”

Does that make me a bad person? I’m hoping I get points for the fact that I keep my filter in place most of the time and do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. I’m far from perfect and I doubt I will ever corner the high-road market, but I just don’t want to operate in a deficit trying to make up for every negative thought I entertain.

It’s good that I recognize my character flaws, right? I’m not generally spiteful and I don’t like to see bad things happen to people; however, I can’t always block the thoughts from occurring in the first place. In addition to the contemptuous “Ha-Ha,” what about the other nasty phrases, “told you so” or “what you should do…”

I think I’m perceptive enough to back up when I feel the urge rising to let one of these fly, and if all else fails, I readily apologize if one slips from my lips. Most days, I say things like, “Wow, is everything O.K… Do you need anything… I’m certainly sorry that you are experiencing this.” Even if inside I’m thinking, “That was dumb, you stupid moron…boy, you shoulda known better.”

Is it too much to ask to get the same from the people in my life when I find myself in delicate situations? It’s not that I don’t want feedback, but I find that most of my workable solutions come as a result of ME finding an answer, versus one being thrust upon me. I suppose human understanding and empathy go a long way here.

From the moment “If I were you…,” releases into the cosmos, it is a sign that the person it is directed toward can take a little mental vacay to Tahiti because the next five minutes of what comes out of the well-intended soul on the other end is absolute trash.

I guess what I’m looking for in my relationships is the ability to interact authentically with people while understanding the complexities of the human condition. Instead of counsel or mockery, perhaps what we all need most is a sounding board, smile, quiet presence or maybe even a laugh.

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2 Responses

  1. All winter, I have been thrilled to use the cold as an excuse to stay in the house. But I also told a friend yesterday that I had cabin fever. (We went to a movie and dinner) I was wondering if the difference had to do with the fact that the sun is HERE and somehow I KNOW ( my mammal self??) this is good-bye winter!! I find myself looking at all the snow and anticipating the garden this year…??

    On the subject of HA-HA…( WARNING: go to Tahiti, go directly to Tahiti now)….
    some of my thoughts:
    Thought #1
    I recently stood and listened to a woman I’ve known for years say, in tears, “Why do I end up being everyone’s whipping post?”. And in my head I was yelling “because you are SOOO GOOD at being the whipping post, you are THE perfect MODEL MARTYR!!!”
    I didn’t say anything to her, just listened. But I, too check myself later on those thoughts.

    thought #2
    I remember a couple of decades ago when I was telling a friend ( who happens to be a counselor) about being angry. She said OK, you have become really good at naming your anger, maybe you should write and find out what the underlying feelings are. It was a pivotal time for me. I did start journaling and I did get un-stuck from “the anger response” as an end in itself.

    thought #4
    I think that it is just a little funny that you frequently ask in the blog…”what do you do in these situations?” and here you are wanting well-intended souls to shut up! ( Actually as I write this, I find it more than just a little funny, I’m laughing!) (sorry)

    thought #5, ( FINAL boarding call for the plane to Tahiti…or, “If I were you…” )
    When I notice these thoughts (see #1) I try later to break apart the part that is strong in-the-moment emotionalism, then see what is underlying. For instance, over time, I have confronted this woman on occasional issues where I’m not buying that she has no choice…ie lives in a huge house and complains about losing sleep due to husband snoring, but won’t go to another room to get her sleep?? Who’s decision is it to not sleep???
    But, this was not a time to point out the issue…her husband was having a biopsy for possible cancer…not the time…

    What I try to do is remember that my ultimate goal is to not judge others. But, to me that means taking these situations, after removing the emotional part, and looking at the underlying stuff. For instance, I came from a pretty good model of martyrdom and have practiced it myself…need to keep up and make sure that I don’t go back there. One way is seeing it in others. I think that having these thoughts and looking at them is discernment. It is not just judging, unless I truly hold an emotional piece there and keep my energy there. Over time, as I noticed what I discerned to be Martyrdom phrases or acts, I would catch myself quicker if I started down the same path! And (you are right, I think) it is the way I learn my lessons!!
    I have experienced authenticity in relationships. I agree that it is a good thing. But, I don’t think it means saying every thing that comes to mind. Use your filters, then sift through the gunk in there!

    MA

  2. I’m glad I could provide a little ironic laugh…interesting that I’m asking for opinions as I also tell them to shut the hell up. I suppose I’m more prepared to listen when I ask. It is easier for me to sift through their stuff v. my own.

    Filters will always be my friend. Sometimes people may think that I have a faulty one….if they only really knew., lol

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