I had another bad experience tonight, but a different sort of one than happened last week.
The strange thing about what happened tonight was that it illuminated something that I haven't seen before in myself, or perhaps I have not been prepared to look at or acknowledge.
It was unpleasant, but perhaps it will help me in the long run, I don't know. That will depend on whether I remember and apply it.
Setting the context.
I am often frustrated by things, especially things that I think can be improved if people will change, a decision, an action, a rule, whatever it may be. When I pause to think about it there have probably been so many of these instances that I just accept them as normal.
(Think Vanilla Diet Coke!!)
When they're boiled down, what they reveal is that I want things done my way.
Not for my ego's sake, but because I truly believe in what I'm suggesting or trying to do.
I'm sure ego gets in there somewhere, but most times it's about injustice or inefficiency or trying to improve something.
Strangely enough, people don't readily agree to change, or even agree.
What then follows is my becoming more animated or strident, trying to convince whoever it is of whatever it is.
Surprise surprise, they don't just say, "Yeah, good idea Marcus, let's do that".
Instead they become defensive and tension develops.
So what's the problem, why is this happening?
Are my ideas bad?
I don't think so, at least not all of them.
Tonight it was about relaxing a couple of rules at volleyball so that people wouldn't be penalised if they didn't have the right shirt on for a game or be forced to forfeit if they are one player short. Not earth shattering stuff I admit, but even these "reasonable suggestions" were met with great resistance and eventually defeated.
There were other issues too. One was passed, one was adjusted and partially passed, but throughout the process there was increasing tension and dissatisfaction in the room, all emenating from me or the process I had initiated!!
That did not feel good! For me or them.
My problem is that if I feel something is right I argue for it and have trouble letting it go. Hopefully you believe me when I say I don't go looking for fights, I don't try to deliberately antagonise people, but it happens too often for it to be a coincidence. I seem to be the common denominator!
So, what do I conclude from reflecting on this incident?
That even when people think there is merit in my ideas they are put off by my actions or attitudes!!
There is something in the way I say or do things that bothers people! (Oh yeah! This reflecting and seeking for self-awareness is great fun!!!!)
In case you're thinking that I should add paranoia to possible depression, this is coming from the horse's mouths! I stayed after the meeting to talk it over with two of the committee members and they both told me exactly how they felt and how I made them feel!!
Just what I needed! People telling me what I did bothered and annoyed them!!
Just as well I'm not fragile at the moment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, it was a dawning moment, an insight that I hadn't seen or had refused to see about myself.
It is possible to be right and wrong at the same time!
To say the right thing in the wrong way.
To hurt people even though I'm trying to help!!! (Oh how much of this joyous revelation can I stand?!!!)
In a perfect world I'd say I'm a changed man and everything was put to right, but I'm not and it wasn't.
The light clicked on. I saw myself differently. I didn't like it. I stopped arguing. I apologised. I went home. I did not feel good.
I still think I was right but that doesn't matter because I hurt people in the process and that's not worth it.
I need to change.
I can't keep doing that.
Not to strangers and acquaintenances, and not to my family and friends.
I told Carolyn about it when I got home.
"I've been telling you that for years" she replied with only the slightest trace of an "I told you so" tone.
I wasn't listening,
I did not know how,
perhaps I'll listen now!
This is another one of those posts that seemed to have a mind of it's own.
Therefore it's probably exactly what I needed.
No doubt it is good for me!
I daresay God is nodding in agreement right now!
Pass the god liver oil!!!!!!!!!
NB For those tempted to add a comment, please refrain from adding any "I told you so" or "That reminds me" stories, I don't need too much more reinforcement of this particular lesson!
Having said that, I do appreciate the comments and messages of support I've received.
PS. Here's some ironic humour for you. I just checked my diary and noticed that today was the first day of "Harmony Week"