Some of life’s lessons are more difficult to learn than others. The ones that add to your value, that make you feel better about yourself are welcome and motivating. But there are other life lessons. The ones where you don’t look so good. The lesson that shows you that you need to change and get rid of a negative behavior. The lesson where you see yourself as others see you … and you don’t like what you see.
Happened to me recently. I was involved in an episode with a friend who sometimes rubs me the wrong way. His behavior triggers something within me that causes me to judge him and his actions. We were together at an event and he stepped up and did something which was offensive to me. He did it purposefully to ridicule me.
I thought about it for a couple of days and felt it needed to be confronted. I did. I asked him about his previous behavior and shared that I thought it was unacceptable. I thought we could handle this like grown-ups. (thinking it was he who needed to act more mature.) However once I brought the matter to the forefront I was the one who felt child-like.
He mentioned two words that went straight to my soul. “Gary”, he said, “you act like you need confidence when you are around me by the way you treat me and what you say.” He wasn’t finished. “We don’t need to judge each other.” I wasn’t ready for him to take the offensive. I though I was going to be the one straightening everything out and facilitating the conversation.
My first thought was get back on the offensive. Explain the situation and how he prompted the actions and the irritation. That’s what I did. But he kept saying things that made me think differently. Things that made me think I was wrong.
He was right. I needed to listen.
The truth is, we talked and although we said we forgive and we will start over in the relationship, we walked away with that awkward feeling like it’s not really resolved. It was only later, when I could not get rid of the discomfort and the pain in my gut that I started being honest with myself.
I did treat him poorly in this relationship and have been doing it for years. For whatever reason, a need for superiority, lack of confidence in myself, a dis-like of his behavior, whatever the reason I did not treat him the way I treat others. The basic truth is I need to just love the guy for who he is.
Life lessons are tough! Especially when someone holds a mirror up for you and you don’t like what you see. I am going to work to adjust that image I saw and experienced recently. The first step for this most recent lesson is to allow people to be who they are and quit judging them.