Life’s sneaky little lessons
I make little notes in a journal in the evening so that I won’t forget what I did that day, or it may be something that I learnt, or perhaps a sentence that I have read that triggered something, or even just random thoughts……
So one day this week, after work (I am still being GI Jane here in Israel) I wrote this, “Never blame. Any circumstance, even something devastating, can be a blessing if you gain wisdom from it”
I can’t remember where that sentence came from, it could be my own mind, or from a book. So today I had lunch with a lovely new friend I met on Facebook through our mutual love for India and we talked for a long time, really talked I mean, not “ladies who lunch” chit chat (nothing against that but this wasn’t girlie gossiping although we did a spot of shopping in the craft market but only after we had solved every crisis in the world
Now I am back in my tiny room in my “boutique” hotel in Tel Aviv (I think that means very small and with artificial orchids and gratis shower cap) and of course there was a subconscious reason I wrote those words.
Last weekend, I think, I am almost certain, that I inadvertently upset someone who is very nice and of course I didn’t mean it. It was such a small thing, an extremely silly and immature moment ….I was not wise, not kind and none of it was necessary which are the criteria I try to stick to before speaking.
So, on the day it happened, I imagine I must have suffered more than the poor person I insulted. I fretted and worried through the entire day. There it is, that word….. Insulted. Of course that is why I was so upset, because I was insulting. That just hurt admitting that. Amazing how a blog is like therapy but cheaper!
I am not trying to find solace in the fact that it was, in all probability, at least as distressing (not devastating) for me as for him. I tried all that day and through the weekend to figure out a way to make it better and my intent was good and pure or so I thought…..to take away any hurt from the other person if I could, it was not about getting myself off the hook.
Aha. The penny has dropped! OF COURSE I wanted to get myself off the hook at least as much as repair any stupid hurtful damage. I have spent a whole week with low-level blame simmering in the background and trying to figure out what the lesson or lessons were and what the blessings are, in the form of wisdom.
Well, until today the only lessons I could think of was to remember to engage brain before mouth! Never, even inadvertently if possible, cause anyone to be upset by careless words. And to make sure that if I ever feel it necessary to pass a negative comment or one that is unkind, that I am not overheard.
I have tried to wriggle out of this one. I figured that any manipulation or small white lies could be excused on the grounds of truly sincere and good and altruistic intentions. But my efforts have not not worked, I appear to be in the dog house, probably forever and clearly I am still bothered, so today I asked my friend for advice (should I just own up and grovel) because the guilty feelings are not going away so fast!
The advice was, let it go and forgive yourself.
Whoa! Here comes the “blessing” from the mistake…. why oh why do most insights and growth have to come from painful things and not from joyful ones?
I can forgive anyone almost anything. I am brilliant at forgiving and even forgetting! Just not ME! Why not me was the next question.
Because I set impossibly high standards for myself, ones that I certainly wouldn’t expect from anyone else. So my week of contrition is of course because I wish so much I could magic the silly words away (which were not even true, just stupid) for good reasons, but the bottom line is that I let myself down and broke that rule I made for myself that says my purpose in being here at all, is to be the best version of myself I can be. So now it is clear that I have given my precious ego a beating. Of course all these remorseful feeelings are about me as well as the injured party!
Ohhhhh! Just when I think for a smug little moment that I am doing OK I go and ruin it and then can’t even allow myself some tiny bit of slack!
So this is my apology. Chances are it won’t ever be read by the person concerned. But as I said before in my post “Writing is scary” this is a place for being authentic, for writing about what goes on in my life and that includes the stuff that makes me ME.
Now all I have to do is let go of the slightly insane idea that I must try to be perfect all the time! I may not finish this life as an enlightened being but I do have to accept that I am just a human and that I goofed up!
And that the only response to any situation that I have any control over is mine. Here I have been so busy imagining how hurt and how disappointed this person must be and I don’t really know, I am just projecting my own feelings and forgetting that I have no control at all over what anyone else might think, feel, do or say! The only control I have to any situation or response to any situation is MINE.
And then there is the stupid aspect! I did a stupid thing but that does not make me a stupid person. We are all so clued up today on how to speak to our kids so that we do not destroy their fragile egos at an early age. We carefully say “that was a bad thing you did” and never “you are a bad boy!”
So why have I been shouting at myself that I am stupid! I am not stupid at all! I know I am utterly brilliant:-) I just made a silly little mistake.
And one more morsel of wisdom came as an extra too, to stop trying! How could I have forgotten that one! We learn from mistakes and then somewhere down the line The Universe tosses us the same ball again and I dropped it! So no more trying to be perfect. I came into this life equipped with an abundance of compassion for others, which I have thought of as a good thing, sometimes painful its true (overly empathetic!) but this week at least, not a jot left over for me.
I think many of us are expert at beating ourselves up. We say things like “I am so stupid” thus insulting ourself. We are faster at forgiving others than forgiving ourselves. As if it were wrong to be compassionate to oneself, to say I am human therefore I make mistakes. To worry more about other people’s response or opinion of us than our own.
I am very sorry.I deeply regret any hurt or offence.
I hereby forgive me.