Have you ever been hurt by the words and actions of another and they’ve been completely oblivious to the damage caused? They are so wrapped up in their own affairs the offence they have caused fails to register? It happened me the other day and I must admit it stung. I can have a less than thick skin at times but, on this occasion, I believe my wounded reaction was justified. Some people don’t think before they speak. Others do, but simply don’t care enough about the consequences.
I’m no saint. I know that I have caused hurt in the past, we all have. But part of life is learning from our past failings and ensuring they are not repeated. It’s about progress and forward motion, as opposed to repetition and ruin. This requires a degree of self-awareness that is sorely lacking in some people. So, when it happened me recently, I was disappointed that the other person was so unaware of a character flaw which they have displayed on many previous occasions.
It’s at moments like this I tend to avoid looking in the mirror and reflecting on my own words and actions, or rather inaction. You see, I said nothing. Rather than risk a confrontation with the other person, I bit my lip and took it on the chin. A double whammy so to speak. I didn’t stand up for myself, I didn’t challenge the other person’s behaviour, I buckled and folded like a deck of cards. It’s an area of my personality I don’t particularly like, not fighting my own corner.
What would have happened had I spoken up? Well, I’ll never know now, but from past experience the other person would not have reacted well, no matter how I worded my objections. I’ve been down that road before and it didn’t end well. Whenever I become embroiled in an argument I tend to capitulate and apologise once the dust settles. I hate people thinking ill of me, even when I know in my heart I’m in the right.
This is another character flaw that I’m not proud of, my lack of a backbone in such situations. At times like this, I wish I was more stubborn, more obstinate, more downright surly. I know people who can go days, weeks, months without speaking to another person they have fallen out with. They don’t give the other party a second thought and get on with their lives. Their loss, I’ve got a life to lead, let them stew in their own juices for a while.
I’m no good at stewing, hopeless at raising the drawbridge and battening down the hatches. When it comes to siege situations I’m waving the white flag within hours and sheepishly emerging to lay down arms and petition for surrender. I’m a diplomat, not a warrior and strive to keep the peace at all costs, even if I inevitably walk away with little to show for my efforts. I wish I was stronger, tougher, less of a walkover. I’m not.
So, I write. This is how I express myself, how I work through the issues bouncing round my skull. I’ve been unable to express myself verbally at the time, so I limp away, lick my wounds and then hammer out my frustration on the keyboard. Writing is a release that I have been unable to avail of for most of my adult life. Before, I would have lashed out at loved ones or buried my woes at the bottom of a pint glass. I was hurting and hurt others in the way I processed the perceived umbrage.
I am grateful for this blog. These past three years I have retreated to it on numerous occasions to deal with the storms of life. It is my safe haven, a tranquil harbour where I can lay anchor and ponder on where I’ve went wrong and how I can steer clear of the rocks next time round. I am equally grateful of those who have taken the time to read and respond with the wisdom and experience of their own life lessons. I hope to sail these waters for many more years.