I got into a scuffle with my sister a few weeks ago. She’s my sister so of course we were able to talk it out and I don’t think we’re any worse for the ware. But it got me thinking, and if I’m being honest with myself, I think that we both could have saved a lot of soul-searching and ruminating and hurt feelings if she would have just told me to suck it.
In truth, it was a situation where I meant well and I felt that what I was sharing was meaningful and important and necessary. But at the same time, I think I also was trying too hard, I was frustrated and I unintentionally came across harsh and judgmental.
Some people don’t suffer from anxiety about everything they say and every encounter that they have. But my sister and I are both worriers and ruminators. Over-thinkers and those of us that suffer from anxiety and perfectionistic tendencies usually tend to assume that there is something wrong with ourselves and that everyone else is right. This could also just be a self-confidence or felt-safety issue. Whatever the case, because of this, my sister and I are also both disposed to constantly trying to exasperate all avenues when it comes to trying our hardest to find the most decent and healthiest response to every circumstance, giving everyone else the benefit of the doubt. In other words, we don’t want to be seen for the crazy people that we are, so we tend to work a lot harder socially and often put up with a lot more in certain situations than others would tolerate.
You don’t have to suffer from anxiety to relate to this. If you’re someone that was raised to try and always see from someone else’s perspective, or if you are someone with a good heart that has worked hard to be healthy and have healthy relationships and want to be perceived as such, then you might know a little of what I’m talking about.
But a lightbulb went on when I was mulling this over on my run the other day (don’t be too impressed–I wasn’t running fast, ergo had some time to think), and it occurred to me that while it’s a good quality and goal to be a good listener, to be slow to anger, and to assume people always mean well, sometimes the healthiest response is to just tell someone to shove it. Or as my mother would say, “Tell them to go kick rocks!”
Now, I’m not saying to just pick a random hard conversation and just tell someone to piss off. Please know that I am fully advocating using your judgement here. My point is some of us miss the fact that there are times where it’s fully warranted. People like my sister and I can have a hard time identifying these times because we so badly want to be the people that are seen as understanding and always having the healthiest and wisest and most mature response. So sometimes we can get into situations where our mind is playing twister just to figure out what that response might be. And the thought that I had the other day way, if you’re in a situation where that’s the case, and you feel like you are genuinely being misunderstood or unfairly judged, or being more harshly treated than you deserve, that might be a situation where the healthiest option really is to just give someone the proverbial finger–or the real finger, if that’s your style.
Even if your tendency is to just assume that you’re the crazy one, that doesn’t mean that you deserve to be unfairly spoken to or unfairly judged. We do ourselves a disservice when we don’t hold others accountable for the way they communicate with us because we miss an opportunity to stand up for ourselves and we do others a disservice because they miss an opportunity to be checked and to grow. If someone is straight in the wrong, save yourself the heartache and let them know.
Nobody is perfect. No one is always 100% right on the giving end and no one is always 100% wrong on the receiving end.
It’s noble to be good to those around you, but it’s vital to be good to yourself as well.