Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You Stinking Moron

Have you ever said something under your breath in a moment of elevated tension or anxiety that did not reflect in any way who you were as a person or what you believed in? Said something that was mean-spirited and unfair and uncalled for? Maybe you were just in a surly mood to begin with or maybe something caught you totally by surprise. Akin to swearing when you hit yourself with a hammer, it just kind of comes out of you. Well, I catch myself all too often in this trap. Most often this happens when someone cuts me off in traffic or commits some other self-perceived, inconsiderate offense that affects my life. Some might say that this is just an innocent release, maybe even a victimless sin. Lately I have been trying to recognize that this is an aspect of me that needs attention and work. I find that after a deep breath or two (or five or six for an especially egregious offense), I have to say to myself quite sternly that the other person made a mistake or might have something on their mind or didn't see me. I forgive them for the offense and I ask forgiveness for my reaction. It might seem kind of silly but this little exercise does a couple of things that fosters self-improvement.
  • I realize sinful behavior on my part and seek forgiveness for it.
  • I recognize an area of myself that needs work and give it immediate attention.
  • I release frustration and negativity that sometimes can stick with me and chew me up on the inside for a couple of hours.
  • I forgive others and give them the benefit of the doubt, which helps defuse my natural inclination towards elitist tendencies.
  • I save my energy and emotions for things that matter a whole heck of a lot more.