This week…I don’t even know where to begin. A lot of pressure. Annoying, but not surprising. That other thing, though – honestly, God, I’m not sure where you were then. Bitterness and judgment from a quarter where I’d previously encountered only kindness and acceptance. I know the judgment wasn’t about me. At least, intellectually I know it. Emotionally, it still felt like a sucker punch to the gut, complete with internal bleeding that you don’t find out about until days later when it’s already too late.
Even Zoe hasn’t been her usual snuggly self.
I know what you’re going to say. Don’t take it personally.
And then I’m going to have to ask you how you think I can possibly do that. All that pressure? Yeah, that’s on me. Nobody else is going to meet those deadlines, or suffer the consequences if they aren’t met. And that judgment? How am I supposed to avoid taking that personally? Okay, it wasn’t aimed at me, but it was aimed at someone just like me. How do you throw a lob like that right by someone’s ear and not realize it might make contact?
I’m not being fair. I know that. It’s literally the only unpleasant thing that person has ever said, and nobody’s perfect all the time. Which means I’m going to have to forgive it. Damn it.
I’m trying to understand where everyone is coming from – even Zoe. I know that stuff has to get done, and somebody has to do it, and everyone else has pressures of their own. I’m trying to take it one day at a time, even though each one seems to come with three days worth of trouble. I’ve done my best to acknowledge that even people I really like can have opinions I don’t agree with, and that my friend has had experiences that seem to validate that one. I get that cats sometimes need their space.
But really, do I always have to be the one who understands? I want a break from being the resident grown-up. When does the time come that everyone has to suck it up and understand me?
And at this point, I hear you laughing. Who says they don’t?
Thinking back, I guess other people have as hard a time assigning benevolent intentions for some of my actions as I do for theirs.
But that’s not really what you asked, is it? Not taking things personally isn’t the same as finding reasons why people do the things they do. It just means accepting the fact that those actions reflect on the people who took them, not me.
Even the one that really hurt, that made me cry, that felt like maybe it actually was aimed right at me, doesn’t say anything about me. It says something about the person who made the remark. Probably it says, “Someone hurt me, and I can’t take the pain anymore. Maybe I can give some of it away.”
Maybe I can try not to take it personally. I’ll take out my mental Magic Marker and draw a circle around the perpetrator. A bubble that includes the words of judgment. That way, I distance myself from the whole mess, and assign it back where it belongs. I can even begin to have a tremor of sympathy for the occupant, trapped in his head with the words, not realizing how they influence and limit his world view.
Not a lot of sympathy yet, mind you. Maybe even a teensy bit of satisfaction, seeing someone that hurt me penned in with his word weapons, because I am not as good a person as I wish that I were.
I don’t know, God. I’m not sure I can pull it off, not taking things to heart. If other people’s actions aren’t about me, do I still matter? I want to share things with people. I don’t want to be isolated and alone. Can I still do that?
Yes, I can still share and experience. I just can’t assign myself the role of sun in everyone’s emotional solar system. People do things for their own motivations, because of their own joys and pains. I can observe, celebrate or mourn their actions. I just can’t take credit for them.
Oh, what a joy that would be. Knowing that good or bad, other people’s actions aren’t my fault, or my measure. Not the harsh words, or the overwhelming demands, or even the guy who stopped to chat right in the middle of the parking space I wanted. He didn’t stand there and yell to his friend purely to get on my nerves. He did it because he’s an idiot.
I think that might have fallen out of the the Not Personals column. Have patience with me, God.
I’m new at this.
Kimberly is going to take a break from reality now, and use her mental Magic Marker to draw something prettier.