Week 14 – Practice What you Preach

 

Say what you mean, but don’t say it meanly.  This has been my mantra for years. But if someone is being a dick, is it ok to be a dick myself when I tell them to behave?  Or does that just make me a dick, too?  I think if it walks like a dick, acts like a dick and talks like a dick…it’s a dick.

For a long time I was a very negative person.  I was angry, but not at the world, as so many people are, but at myself.  I spoke harshly to strangers, if I spoke at all.  I had very negative inner self-talk, but not about myself…oh, no…about other people and how they just need to learn to be better…kinda like me.

It took me a while to come to realize that I am responsible for my own life, and other people are responsible for their own.  They have the right to live their life however they wish (as long as it’s within the boundaries of the law…I suppose).  Oh sure, children up to about 18, have other people make the majority of their life-altering decisions, but as adults, we are solely responsible.  If we let other people make decisions for us, WE ARE LETTING THEM.  They cannot do it unless WE let them.  We are responsible for the decision, because we allowed them to make it for us.  And…we should not try to pass judgement on others and make decisions for them unless asked for our opinion, (and even then don’t tell them what to do).  Lesson in boundaries.

Epiphanies, Ah-ha moments and lights turning on, allowed me to see the value of each person and their very different life.  While I have come to the harsh realization that I cannot change the consequences of my past decisions, I can certainly change my attitude.  I have learned a lot about communication and negativity and attitude and I want to scream at the top of my lungs to share it with the world.  But…but, I say, I could use a little lesson in practicing what I preach.

It is a harsh reality to face the fact that I have felt ‘holier than thou’ (yes, I mean all of thou), and justified in telling people when I believe they are misbehaving.  I have been silent for so long and I am just adjusting to my new-found voice, which yearns to speak of the past evils that I allowed to prevail without penance.  I believe in vulnerability and here I go again, because I need to humble myself enough to accept that I am not perfect, and that everyone makes mistakes,
EVEN the misbehaver.  But mistakes do not define a person – unless you will not learn from the mistake.  So, give them a break and mind your own business.  Do you have the right to tell someone they are wrong, Evelyn?

No, no.  In fact, isn’t calling someone out the same as judging them?  Of course, no one should allow bad behaviour to go on.  One can merely say ‘That is bad behaviour.  You do not need to speak like that.  Please tell me what you want to but in a respectful way.’

Most of my life, I went along with the decisions of people with strong personalities because I did not know how to approach conflict.  I wanted everyone to ‘like’ me.  That is not what makes people like you by the way.  Standing up for yourself does not mean that a) a conflict will be volatile, and b) that you cannot continue to have a respectful and close relationship with the person.  It just means that you are setting boundaries.  A phrase I have learned to use is, ‘That does not work for me.’  Another is, ‘I want to talk to you about something that is upsetting for me.’

Why is it that we have such a distaste for those who have different morals and beliefs than us?  Difference is what makes this world so glorious.  If everyone was the same, then what beliefs should we all follow? Yours? Mine?  Someone else’s?  Who’s right?  Does this even matter?  I often wonder why we cannot go through life not just tolerating others, but accepting, condoning, supporting and yes, embracing their differences.  Why not love people because they are different than us?

Sounds seriously simple.  Yet still, I find myself judging others all the time.  At least lately I can catch myself when I am judging, but I would rather catch myself NOT judging others.

Judgers are gonna judge, haters are gonna hate.  Hello.  It’s my life, not yours.  And why do you even care anyhow?  And why do I even care anyhow either?  Judgers need to justify their own lives.  They may believe that they live without sin or perhaps they sin better than others.  I have seen people who got nothing together and just about nadda going on, but they choose to sneer and turn up their noses at other people’s faults.  I do not get it.  I want to scream ‘Get the big chip off your shoulder and get your own house clean before you judge others!’  But…that is wrong, and it is not following my own sage (ha ha, spicy) advice.

To continue a relationship with a hater, a judger, a negator, a bad ‘tude, you gotta get in their head.  You gotta see what they see. You need to know what they know.  But… don’t stoop so low as to judge them back.  Respectfully, (that means with an intentionally nice attitude, where you are genuinely interested), ASK the misbehaver, ‘Why do you feel that way?  I have noticed that you seem to be quite angry about something; is there any way that I can help?  What’s going on?  What are the reasons you believe that?’  This should be prefaced with a deep breath and 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10…SMILE!  A good dose of empathy may help to see the situation from their perspective.  Offer help, not punishment.  How about politely questioning people, to find out what they are all about.  Instead of putting up a your own defensive wall, have actual FACTS ready about why you choose what you choose, even if the fact is that it makes you feel good.

Man, I could sure use a dose of my own medicine.  I need to learn that even though I think I am ‘enlightened’, I am just a dick.

 

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