Coming up short II

Sympathy – I miss that a lot of times. And support, and praise, “well done, you” in all areas of life. I think it’s important to notice that sense of lack in us, and to accept it. After all, that is the whole point of things happening to us, isn’t it?

Yesterday I had such an overwhelming moment of self-pity – so much I wanted to Boo-hoo like a toddler and had to tell myself to “get a grip”. For some reason, it took forever to crawl out of that hole again. But in the end, I did. I didn’t end up spending the rest of my life attached to that one story, pointing the finger at so-called “guilty parties”…. anyone nearby will do, in such moments, and if there is no other grown up at hand, that could even be a teenager like my son’s good friend, who happened to be there. I was that desperate!

You can tell, always, that moment when you decide to snap out of it and calm down. Just as you can feel the temptation not to, and to stay stuck in resentment instead. Both options are there, and you really have to want it, you have to want to resolve the issue and to move beyond it. Otherwise you can easily stay stuck in self-pity and blame forever.

That last part is easy. Staying stuck is right ahead of you. All you have to do is stay on the gas pedal and keep going full speed. Whereas getting out of your funk, solving the issue at hand, means getting a firm grip on the steering wheel and pull it around with all your might – with not even an “exit” sign (i.e. a goal) to keep you focused. Just because “I don’t want to be like that”. That is much, much harder.

I’m absolutely convinced that we all notice when this is happening. I’ve seen children do it – the moment where they stop and pause for just a second, and then either resume their screams from hell, or find their “off” switch and return to the present in an instant.

For me, this is a great insight.

It’s simply not true when others say they “can’t help it”. Just as they are not “worse off” than me. Just like me, they can decide for themselves, moment by moment. For me, this realization helps me to take others’ decisions and behaviour at face value. To take it seriously. “Ok, this is what you have decided to do. Here is my consequence”. Instead of doing what I used to do, which was to tell myself, they didn’t mean it, it’s not so bad, they can’t help themselves, it’s not their fault.

Yes it is.

We can help it. Maybe not always, and not immediately (that’s what apologies are for, setting things right again, awareness, exchange, communication).

But we can, and we don’t even have to be total awareness professionals. All we have to do is let in a breath of doubt – “am I really right about this, and if so, why do I indulge in histrionics?”

My resolution for today is to take my time reacting, to really notice the other person and not to believe every single word they say. To instead wait it out a bit, and see if they really do what they said they would. How things continue. Whether a boundary is needed, or whether they manage to mess things up all by themselves. :-)