Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Big Fat Heaping Spoonful of Self-Awareness

Lately I've been overthinking more than usual about a couple situations. In fact, I've been ruminating. I know they're synonyms, but ruminating feels darker to me. More destructive. "Overthinking" can and often does bring me to a solution whereas ruminating keeps me stuck on a merry-go-round revolving nauseatingly around a situation that's completely out of my control.

Follow me down this rabbit hole, if you will. I am a highly sensitive person. I will beat myself up for days if I think I've said or done something unkind. I'll lose sleep over possibly offending someone. Countless times, I've texted my girlfriends to apologize for something I did or said. Countless times, they've said that my behavior was not offensive. Granted, I'm outrageously blessed to have a tribe of absolutely A M A Z I N G women, but they will tell you if you're out of line...lovingly.  

Given this trait, I sometimes project onto others and think they--though usually not as sensitive (holla atcha girl, INFJ's)--have a basic understanding of the fact that other people do in fact have feelings. Consequently, when people do jerky things, I sometimes take it personally.

Hello, Darkness, my old friend.

Now, after worshiping at BrenĂ© Brown's feet for years and reading The Four Agreements about 16,000 times, my reaction tends toward moderate irritation followed by analysis of motivation. HINT: It's not about me. Or you. Ever. 

I try to be particularly sensitive to the space I take up in the world. I try to bring good energy and kindness. I try not to be a jerk. Sure, I mess up. I usually apologize. Sometimes, I over-apologize. I'll accept blame to avoid a conflict; I'd rather be happy than right and all that jazz.

Side note: Have any of you read Gary Chapman's book about The Five Languages of Apology? I just heard about it on Gretchen Rubin's podcast Happier, and I can't wait to read it. 

It's taking a really long time to get to the point--I warned you it was a rabbit hole. 

We've all witnessed the: "I'm sorry if you were offended," mentality; right? And I know: People are so easily offended about lots of inane stuff. That's often true. But I'm talking about people being dicks, not apologizing for being a dick, and then insinuating there's something wrong with you for being hurt by their behavior.

So, I started to write about how lack of self-awareness drives me crazy. However, I immediately countered every example with: Well, I do or did or have done that. But instead of disproving my original point, it brought me to another point--No, I still haven't made it. Good God. 

When we're aware of ourselves, we can be aware of others. When I acknowledge my own bad behavior, I can look at someone else's from a different perspective. When I realize that on any given day, I can be a dick, then I can stop taking other people's shit personally. I can give them space to be human. And maybe, someday, I'll even be able to give myself a little grace to make a mistake. 

In the meantime, it's enough to remember, we don't get to choose how others treat us, but we do get to choose our reaction. Every time. And this time, I'm choosing grace. Grace for you. Grace for me. Namaste. And please don't be a dick. 

xoxo


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