Saturday, December 17, 2016
Never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter.
Truer words were never spoken, yet harder words were never uttered.
I have several relationships in my life -- friends, family -- who can in one minute express kindness and in the next remind me rather intensely of my faults.
What happens then is a complete disaster of emotions. Are they right? Am I failing as a mother and missing all the cues? Am I selfish? Am I stupid to listen to a therapist (words actually spoken to me)? Am I faking it (because really, I honestly can't faint at a whim or cry when told to)? Am I a waste of time?
After the initial panic attack, I start to think like the educated person I've fought to be. By "educated", I don't just mean my degree from University of Virginia. By "educated", I mean I 've done copious research, looked for opposing sources (and THEIR sources).This is when a scientific background, a scientific family, and a husband who is so smart I am constantly boggled comes into play. I won't lie ... sometimes it takes a Xanax and deep breathing and sleeping on it to makes sense of things.
Now where was I? Ah, yes. Even while venting, I have to (HAVE TO) keep a calm, civil tongue, one which *I* would listen to. Rationality doesn't necessarily mean you have the answers. Being absolutely certain you're right doesn't mean you can make that clear to anyone.
It means knowing when to keep quiet; respecting, even if not believing, what I'm hearing. It means taking the time to not make snap decisions and to above all, not vent in a public space if you aren't able or willing to handle the results (I so admire friends of mine who are able to do this. I'm rotten at it.). And it means being able to accept if you're wrong or if your delivery was faulty.
Everyone gets angry, hurt, humiliated, saddened, and often, struck with knowledge that they are indeed right, but it's no longer important to nail that home.
During the Christmas season, I've found that a lot of people can get into tiffs and outright fights that are caused because people haven't been together for a while, didn't know how a person felt about a particular subject, or, you know -- eggnog. A slice of fruitcake and a glass of liquored-up eggnog can make things go bad if the situation is just right.
So my goal, not just for 2017, but for life, is to keep quieter when I'm hurt, really evaluate what was said, and realize that it's not always me, and it's not always them. It can be a simple misunderstanding ("You don't like blue? But I bought you a blue sweater!") to things that are deeply rooted and may never get fixed (see every public election).
Just never trust your tongue (or your typing!) when you're in the heat of anger. Sit on it for a while and decide if there is really, truly, a reason to let anger take the center stage when calmness and a degree of compassion could fix everything.
Make your words count. I hope to do better at this.
Much love to you all.