“Pride is pleasure arising from a man’s thinking too highly of himself.”
~ Baruch Spinoza
Have you ever reacted to something defensively/angrily/righteously etc. and then looked back a few minutes later, wide-eyed & wondering, “where in the hell did THAT come from?” [reacted being the key word — as opposed to responded which involves thinking before acting]
I certainly have — in fact, it just happened last night. I was conversing with someone via texts [I know *eyeroll*] and then [seemingly] out of nowhere, she said one thing, I was triggered and got ANGRY, and my texts reflected it.
To get out of the conversation and maintain my position as QUEEN OF THE RIGHTEST RIGHTNESS, I sent an arrogant, “*shrug* ok sure” text, to indicate that I was leaving the argument, but that I still didn’t agree with her point of view [aka – I was still RIGHT and would not be abdicating my throne any time soon].
After the encounter was over, I spent a minute processing what had just happened. In a word, I felt: icky. I told E about it, and he asked me what my intention was in our conversation. I said that my intention was to have her “get it” — which really was true…but I later realized my intention had manifested through shaming her. -___- Boo. Regardless of how I felt about the point I was making…shaming is never ok in my book.
I spent the rest of the evening and half of this morning figuring out how to resolve the situation. In reality, I knew exactly what I should do [where the should exists in a world where I make choices from a place of love & accountability]…but it took me a while to gather up the guts to make the phone call to apologize to her for how I’d wronged her. I was feeling very ashamed of myself.
For me, apologizing is about owning when I’ve acted in a way that’s out of alignment with my core values, and acknowledging it with the other person(s) so they know that not only have I recognized my misstep, but also that I regret it, and commit to not making the same mistake in the future.
What the heck is it about pride that makes authentically apologizing so difficult sometimes? I wanted to hang on to my righteousness about the encounter just a few hours longer EVEN THOUGH IT FELT TERRIBLE in my body & mind! My stomach was all knotted, my blood pressure must’ve been elevated, and my mind felt cloudy with a haze of unresolved-issue-ness.
After I finally resigned myself to calling, I still considered saying, “I’m sorry” [which is just an admission of how I’m feeling] instead of the much more accountable, “I apologize” [which is an acceptance of responsibility for my actions]. Aghhhhh. I logically agree 100% with the title quote for this post…and yet when I let my innermost pride & righteousness take hold, it still takes me a while to fight my way back out to a place of LOVE.
Here I am…in a prison cell.
Luckily for me, she’s an understanding lady, and she fully accepted my apology with no hard feelings. PHEW. Turns out we had different definitions of the very thing we were going back and forth on — A SEMANTIC MISAGLIGNMENT…and yet I wasted so much negative energy on the whole incident. Sigh.
In order to avoid creating a situation like this ever again, I’ve spent some time thinking about how to remain mindful in the future. Here are my suggestions for anyone else out there who is dealing with a similar issue:
- Document, in detail, what being triggered feels like physically: when I recognize my physical reactions as they’re happening, I can take a moment to breathe and re-calibrate
- Think before I speak: I’ve been told to do that since forever, but that doesn’t mean that I do…this will be a good reminder for me to do that
- Check my assumptions: hey, here’s a thought…not everyone sees the world the same way I do…it would behoove me to check for proper understanding before plowing down a path of my blinding assumptions! 😉
- Acknowledge & Own what’s happening: when I notice I’m starting to downward spiral, I’ll shift to acknowledging whatever is taking place, and I’ll get accountable & own my stuff –
“I notice my stomach is tensing up, I think it’s because you just said “blah blah” and I have the following thoughts & beliefs on the matter…[thoughts, beliefs], I’m feeling angry, I want to feel peace, so I’m acknowledging & owning what is happening right now in order to shift direction to a more productive one.” Boom. Handled.
- Apologize: this is definitely still my biggest challenge. Because of the belief systems that I’ve created over the years, I think that apologizing is a sign of weakness. But here’s the reality…I still make mistakes [obviously], and I’ve learned that the most powerful way to learn from a mistake is to authentically & accountably apologize for the mistake [when someone else is involved], and then make a plan of action to not make the same mistake again. Apologizing doesn’t mean that the other person was right, nor does it mean that I was right — it simply means I’m taking responsibility for my words and/or actions that were out of alignment with my ideal way of being…I own up to it and express authentic remorse for it, because I love & care about this person whom I mistreated. And the plan of action is so I don’t end up continuously apologizing for the same BS.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this!