I’ve spent all my life either saying nothing or telling it all.
People would piss me off and I would pretend it didn’t happen. That worked for a while, until it didn’t and then the anger, resentment, or disappointment came oozing out. Usually in a manner that lacked grace, through gossip, cheating, distancing, or picking fights.
In my twenties I started going to twelve step programs (saved my life) and I learned to identify and communicate how I was feeling. My new friends were learning as well and we often found ourselves having long, drawn out conversations about our feelings. It was the direct opposite of saying nothing, we said it all.
Somewhere in between these extremes lies healthy communication.
Whether I was quietly steaming or saying it all I realize there was one quality always present:
- acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin
- a. morally right or justifiable, b. arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality
I believe righteousness may be the biggest obstacle to good relationships. There are many truths out there. We all have opinions and what if they are all valid?
I recently had to look at myself in the mirror. I was doing it again, making myself right and others wrong and taking everything as a personal affront.
What was gong on? I decided to keep asking that question and wait for my answers. I was not going to say anything until I was clear, not because I was avoiding something but because I wasn’t.
Well, it turns out (in this case) the behaviors I was reacting to, the things I felt were wrong in others, were simply old triggers for me. Things that reminded me of my childhood and were making me uncomfortable.
I threw it all in a pile labeled, “old shit.” There’s nothing I need to do about it. I’ve worked it through in twelve step groups, in therapy and in life. Now all that’s left is to accept that the world does not tip toe around my sensitivities (wouldn’t that be something), and that these reactions are mine to manage.
Imagine if our society and our families embraced many kinds of right. What would that be like? What would we argue about? Can we feel good about ourselves without putting others down in some way?
What I’m talking about here is (drum roll please):
the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.
So I ask you:
- Where are you being righteous and holding on to your opinions and experiences as “the truth?”
- How much of it is old stuff that you can throw in the old shit pile?
- Is there something that needs to be communicated directly?
- What’s the next step in your evolution?