Since it's the month of gratitude and all, I'm trying to focus on being thankful. Trying not to spend too much time harping on the things that irritate me.
Then the cat brings two live mice in the house in one night and I start to question my self control.
Anyway, I'll try to temper my pissiness here today for you, in light of the whole month of gratitude thing.
Maybe it's me, not you
In the last couple of days, I've seen this happen a few times. I've been on both sides of it. Someone says something or does something, someone else internalizes that thing that was said or done, runs it through their filters and promptly gets offended or upset or feels compelled to come up with their own response to the thing that was said or done.
In reality, most of the time the offending party isn't the offending party at all.
It's the person who heard or saw whatever was done and spun it in their head to mean something else entirely and then took the extra step of taking it personally. Took offense.
I think it happens with women way more than men, and it happens the most with mothers.
We're taught by years and years of indoctrination that we must be perfect mothers, that we must do everything just so, that there is only one proper way to raise a child. In reality, there's no such thing as perfect, there's more than one way to do anything and there are as many ways to raise a child as there are children in the world. In a larger picture, I think all women in our society, mothers or not, are subject to unrealistic expectations.
Yet we judge each other all the time. We are so accustomed to the judging that even when someone isn't actually judging us, we assume that they are. Then we break out the shield, ruffle up our feathers and start scrapping it out.
Because we are taught to be defensive. We are conditioned to take things personally. Trained to be offended.
I've been the one offended so many times I can't even count, but if I take a step back and look at the situation, it wasn't really the other person most of the time. It was me.
Overreacting. Internalizing. Getting defensive.
Which, conversely also means that most of the time I've been accused of offending someone, it probably wasn't anything I did or said at all. It was the filters they put everything though, their overreaction, their defenses being raised.
For instance, after I lost the baby, there was a girl in my class still pregnant. She was a few weeks further along than I should have been and it was hell to watch her complete her pregnancy. I scrutinized everything she ate and drank, I made judgments about how she spent her time, I resented that she could be pregnant and I couldn't, and with time I started to completely hate her.
It wasn't her. It was me.
I see people who complain endlessly about minor things going wrong as though they are the end of the world, then I can't help but to compare it to my problems. I start, sometimes, to resent them too, wishing that my life was such that all I had to worry about was a lost backpack. I think in my head how lucky they must be. I envy them, I trivialize their worries, I judge. Unfairly.
It isn't them. It is me.
Even this whole hating the Christmas season being stuffed down my throat stuff. It's me, too. I used to love Christmas. I used to look forward to it all year. Maybe someday again I will. When the holiday isn't what it used to be, when people who should be there still aren't, when constant reminders of how happy others are seem everywhere, I lash out. Not at those who genuinely love the season, at the idea of it in the first place. I don't mean to take anything from anyone at all.
It's not them. It's me.
I guess my point in writing this today is that we should all be a little more self aware of the filters we place on every input that comes into our worlds. That we worry less about our egos and puffing out our chests, and more about where the other person might be coming from. That we show compassion, not just for others, but for ourselves.
We give ourselves a break. Take ourselves a little less seriously. Work a little harder at not getting offended by things that truly have nothing to do with us.
Be more patient. Consider our responses before we make them. Temper our emotions.
Maybe it really is me, not you.
In fact, I can just about promise it's usually me.
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