Life Lesson: It’s Me, Not You

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I have gone through periods of obstacle and struggle, I am sure much like you. I’m in one of those right now when I am trying to figure myself out. Part and parcel of that is determining when you’re not OK with others’ behavior and when you’re not OK with your own.

I have a few difficult relationships in my life.

Wait, you too?

Phew, that makes me feel better.

The other day I was mentally wrangling with my frustration. Not only was I annoyed with a particular situation but then I was annoyed with myself for being annoyed. That’s a brain-bender for sure.

Then it dawned on me. The problem was me. The conflict was me. I was knee-deep in my need to be right — at all costs.

Yeah, it’s tough to have righteous indignation when you are the person who needs to do better.

How do you manage being triggered by a person or a situation when the real thing at issue is your trigger, not that the other person is seemingly dancing on it?

Not to be political, but I think we can all relate to that knee-jerk thought that pops up when we see a Facebook meme or a political pundit say something we don’t agree with, as we are in that season right now. Immediately, the thought is something along the lines of the “other” being incompetent, not understanding, or being plain wrong.

But are they? In that moment, whatever they are saying or explaining feels just as 100% right to them as it feels 100% wrong to you.

Grrr. There’s the rub. And it’s crazy making.

In those moments of lucidity I have to entertain the idea that I am wrong and they are right. That I am right and they are wrong. Or that we’re both wrong or both right!

How do I rectify these opposing thoughts in mind?

Maybe I don’t. But I do have to manage my behavior. I don’t want to show up in my life, on social media or any other interaction and be a bully or a buffoon. I wish for my better angels to guide me to be, at the very least, patient and gracious and at my best curious to the “others'” point of view. Listening, as they say, for understanding, not for ammunition for my reply.

As I said, I am struggling right now to listen to my better angels. It seems their chorus is much quieter than my feistier guides that shoot from the hip and reflect on what I am saying far after the words have left my lips.

I suppose much like grief or even addiction, this kind of overhaul is a multi-step process. And, of course, the first proverbial step is admitting you have a problem. Or, in this case, I am the problem.

That realization doesn’t sit light on your soul. It shouldn’t. You need the weight and the pressure to act. I am stumbling on this path to change this part of myself.

I am willing to say in these particular relationships: It’s not you, it’s me.

It’s uncomfortable to think or to say but it’s the same experience that propels one forward.

Then again, I could be wrong. And you might be, too.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,

Lowi & G

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