It’s unavoidable, it’s life, and it’s something we all have to deal with. It is also a good test of character. A good test to see who you are as a person. I often use these people as guidelines of how I don’t ever want to be or allow myself to become. But sometimes, dealing with them makes me want to release my inner bitch in all of her furious glory. The other day, I almost did just that. Almost. I wanted to, oh how I wanted to, but I got a stranglehold on her and reined her in before it was too late.
I won’t lie, part of me is a bit distressed at not having my say, about not taking a stand with the woman who has caused so much grief in my life over the years. But the other part of me, the more evolved part, is proud of the way I handled it. I wanted to behave badly. Frankly, it would have been totally justified. I wanted to stop being the better person for a while and let my inner bitch run free. I didn’t need to do that, after so many years of dealing with her I am more than adept at walking away from her craziness and delusions. But for some reason, this time, I wanted to have my say, knowing full well it would have solved nothing more than letting some of the stress she induces out of my system.
I wanted to. I didn’t.
I knew there was a lesson here I needed to see, but I was damned if I knew what it was.
I am a lot of things. Perfect is not one of them. I screw up and make mistakes all the time. Sometimes I should know better and sometimes it's simply a learning-life-as-you-go mistake. Then there are times when maybe I cut some corners to try to save time or for the basic fact that maybe I was feeling lazy and hoped it would work out. Only to have it come back and bite me on the bum. There had been plenty of times when I wasn't paying attention as I should have been and let something fall through the cracks that I was supposed to take care of. As well as, times when I totally remembered, but I just didn't get it done.
Human I am, perfect I am not. But, I totally own it.
Owning one's failings, mistakes and total screw-ups in life defines your character. If you always look around for someone to blame or search for ways to make it someone else's fault - what does that say about you? It says that you can't be trusted. It says that you value dishonesty over honesty and if you convince yourself of your innocence in the process, that you are completely delusional.
I was at a coffee shop the other day and watched a man, who was engrossed with his cell phone, walk into a woman who was throwing away some trash. The collision caused the man's coffee to spill all over both himself and the woman. The man threw a fit and started yelling at her for not paying attention and being in his way. Mind you, the woman was not at fault, as her back was to him, and she never saw him coming. She just got this look on her face, reached over and grabbed a napkin and handed it to him. Then reached into her pocket and came out with a crumpled five dollar bill, which she handed to him as well. Meanwhile, he is still raging at her, completely unaware of what she was doing. She waved the money in his face, smiled and said; "You're right. My fault for standing here, at this moment, unaware that you were about to collide with me. Take the five dollars and buy yourself a new one. I have better things to do with my time than argue with a self-righteous jerk. Have a great day."
She walked off. Head held high. Wearing that coffee stain like a badge of honor. I wanted to applaud. She read him like a book, knew he wouldn't apologize for his actions nor take responsibility for them - so she did. Didn't have to. Would have been completely justified in making the scene so much worse. Yet, she didn't. She did what she had to do and continued on her way.
I sat there for a while thinking about the whole thing. It was clear that he would have never accepted the fact he was in the wrong. It was clear he wasn't about to apologize or make sure he took care of his mess. He needed to blame her. He needed to make his mistake her fault. And she knew that. She knew nothing she did or said to try and make him see the reality of it would work. So she didn't even bother. She did what she had to do to take care of the situation and moved on with her life.
Cue light bulb over my head. Aha! Moment. This was the lesson I needed to see.
We all have people like the man in the coffee shop or like the woman I deal with, in our worlds at one point or another. People who are unhappy, people who are mean-spirited and spiteful, people with the need to bring others down so that they in turn can feel better about themselves. These people do not deserve a place inside our mind. They do not deserve any of our energy that we could be using to do good within our own lives or within the lives of others. We do not need to react to them, to entertain them any longer than necessary.
We do not need to react badly to bad behavior. We can do as the woman in the coffee shop and take the high road every damn time. There’s less traffic there anyway.