Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On Being Mean

I am not a mean person.  I say that meaning that when you weigh the days that I live and breathe and treat everyone with kindness, respect, and overlook weaknesses and foibles (in the manner that I'd like them overlooked for me) versus the days that I body slam people to the ground (figuratively, of course), I feel pretty free to make that judgment.  Granted, I have it in me to be mean, and I have displayed that tendency from time to time via Towanda...and we won't even get into how I went though a certain "hormonal fluctuation period" way off balance.  Because that was downright scary, or so I'm told.  I believe it because, quite frankly, sometimes I even scared myself.

Okay, maybe I am mean.

No, I'm really not on the whole...but like everyone else who is human, sometimes I cross the line when I write about things or something flies out of my mouth before I've had time to replace the filter.  Not often, but often enough to know that it could happen.  Being snarky about something and maybe even calling myself out on something...I unintentionally end up writing (or saying) something that has the capacity to wound someone else.  Even if I don't know the person.  Even if the person will probably never know what I wrote.  Even though there was a good bit of self-deprecating humor also contained in said piece.

I did that last night...and immediately took the post down.  Someone reminded me that this wasn't kind.

I'm human.  It happens.  It will happen again.  Because I'm human.

We go through life and don't realize how we tend to judge things.  We see the outside of someone and don't really know them.  We find it necessary to get through life because nobody has the time to truly know everyone that we come in contact with in any given lifetime.  We just have to do our best to be open to the possibility of friendship, of learning something from that person, and giving them the benefit of the doubt.

I should know.

I entered the gym this last time weighing nearly 70 pounds more than I do now.  Nobody blinked.  In fact, people were generous and gracious.  I was encouraged.  It could have easily gone the other way.  I read a book recently by an author that I love (Jen Lancaster) where there was a scene of someone taking a photo of someone who was fat on a treadmill.  They thought it was funny.  When I read that...I thought to myself "could have been me."  If I remember correctly, her character handled that, but it goes to show...someone else could have easily had that opinion of someone like me.

I won't even go into what I'm sure me running on the treadmill looks like since I'm having to re-learn how to run.  (It's been twenty years since I last tried.)  Or how I must look while trying to do certain exercises that are most awkward until you learn how to do them effectively.

What I mean is...who am I to joke on someone because they had a deodorant fail?  Exactly.  It wasn't my intention to be mean.  It was my intention to take a bad situation and have fun writing about it.  Because writing about life and what I encounter is something that makes me happy.

Catch the "me" there?  Exactly.

So, as I go through today, I'll have that strong reminder...again...that some things are better just left in my head rather than coming out through my fingers.  I feel a little like that story in the bible where the king forgives the great debt of one of his subjects...and then catches that same subject shaking down someone else for a debt that is owed him.  How angry the king is that no mercy is shown.  How he punishes the subject even more because he was so hard-hearted and didn't appreciate the gift of mercy that he received.

I'll consider the fact that the scale didn't move at all this morning my punishment for being mean last night.

Maybe you aren't guilty of this type of behavior, and maybe it is atypical of your norm, but the capacity to do this always hovers over us like a cloud.  If we are lucky, someone will point it out.  If we are not, we may unintentionally deflate someone who is doing everything that they can to be their best for no reason other than a cheap laugh.

I know how hard it is to strive to be my best.  I try and fail at it every single day.  And while I am enjoying the conversion from being a horrible warning, I also need to be sure that I'm using the grace that was extended me and sharing that out there to keep it going.

Or at the very least...just stay quiet.  Quiet is not passive.  Sometimes quiet is kind.

I hope that those of you who are struggling with something find the grace from other people to encourage you on your path.  And those of you who encounter jackwagons along the way will know that sometimes people do say (or write) things that are not aimed at you specifically, although it seems that way.  Sometimes they just need to be reminded...or have that attitude checked by someone who is bold enough to speak the truth.

I hope that you encounter kind people today.  I hope that you are a kind person today.  I know that is what I'm hoping for myself as well.  After all, there are enough jackwagons in the world without unintentionally joining their club...even briefly.

After all, we've all been forgiven great debts.  We've been shown the ultimate mercy.  Shouldn't we at least try to eke out a little of that for people?  I vote yes.

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