Every now and then, when I am under great pressure or stress, I careen wildly off course and cannot seem to control myself. In these moments I throw harsh words at people like hand grenades, dripping with ignorance and venom. I wound others with my anger and frustration and helplessness. What I say and how I behave are completely against the truths that I know and claim. That person is not me. It almost seems that under certain conditions, the filters and controls that normally process my words and regulate the thoughts between my brain and my mouth are bypassed. I have come to understand over the years that I'm not the only one who has these episodes. In fact, my guess is that we all do to varying degrees.
If you have ever been around someone when they are spewing hate and anger and negativity, when they are raging out of control, or throwing an adult temper tantrum, it is so easy to judge them harshly. Words like racist, sexist, savage, and animal can be thrown back at them with such ease. Sometimes those labels can stick with a person for a very long period of time.
A wise friend of mine told me to guard my thoughts when witnessing such meltdowns in folks. He said that none of us should be fully judged by our worst moments. Sometimes when we reach our boiling point, we can easily act in ways completely uncharacteristic of who we are and say things that are against our true values. In a sense, during these brief periods, we are not ourselves. It reminds me of seeing a child throwing a fit. This can happen because they are not properly equipped to express themselves. I think that same type of wild behavior can be manifested in adults when they are faced with such high levels of stress that they do not have the tools to cope properly with the situation. Be mindful that just as you don't want others to judge you or label you by your worst moments, this is just as true of others.