Friday, January 8, 2010

If a Small Thing Makes You Angry, What Does That Say About Your Size?

I'm watching Oprah because I'm home alone, and it's cold as balls outside. I don't even know what that expression means, but it's damn cold. 21 degrees in Hotlanta the last time I checked, and we actually have some snow on the ground.

Oprah just shared something that Maya Angelou told her once. I wish I had Maya to call up when I have a problem or question about life. Maybe my new year's resolution should be to make friends with her. Anyway...

She said: "When someone shows you who they are - believe them."

That is one tall order, but so so true. I have this problem where I always see the best in people. It's a foolish mistake I've made again and again, but I always trust people and believe they can change, I believe in the good that might not really be there. This led me into bad relationship after bad relationship with the wrong guys, but my blind eyes have caused other problems for me as well.

I'm really terrible at confrontation and conflict. Sometimes I find myself wanting to laugh in the middle of an argument because I think angry people can be so funny. Don't they realize how ridiculous they're acting? Or how absurd they sound? Are you really that mad about such a small thing? But no, they don't, and yes, they are.

I've had many conflicts in my life with one person. I've bit my tongue over and over, not wanting to start World War III over something trivial; and I've made excuses every time. What's the use anyway? Any time she's ever apologized to me it's been because someone made her and/or it's come with a caveat. "I'm sorry but...I wasn't feeling well that day" or "I'm sorry made me mad when you did this" Why even bother when someone can't see anything from another person's perspective? Why even bother when she'll always fight longer and cut deeper?

But I always make the mistake of seeing the good in her and trying to forget the bad. I make those excuses for her, I push things out of my mind. The truth is that time and time again she's shown herself to me, and I've refused to believe her.

It is hard to be good. It is hard to do the right thing.

The Bible says to turn the other cheek when someone hurts us, and that always confused me as a child. As an adult, I think it means that when someone hurts you, sometimes the best thing to do is not to fight and not get dragged down to their level. Sometimes you have to walk away from a conflict so that you can respect yourself and salvage your dignity. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue in order to preserve peace, and sometimes you have to hold back because fighting will only make things worse.

She says horrible things to people she loves, she says things on purpose to hurt people, she'll do anything to feel like she's right and that she won the argument. There is no way to win with someone like that because I am not that callous, I am not that cruel, and I don't want to fight dirty just so I can get in a few punches.

I've heard 90% of anger comes from fear. That's another thing that helps me in some situations. When someone is very angry and it seems to come out of nowhere, the truth is that it comes from fear, they're very afraid of something and that fear is manifesting in ugly ways. Sometimes it's easy to figure out what's making them so fearful, sometimes it's not, but that knowledge helps me find sympathy when I'm feeling unsympathetic.

It is hard to be good. And it is hard to see the ugly in someone else. But sometimes you have to.


CarrieAnn said...

My mom quotes that Maya Angelou line to me all the time. I always want to see the best in people, too. You are absolutely right in saying that it takes the bigger person to walk away in order to retain one's dignity and avoid conflict. This is definitely a lesson I have learned over the past few months! The girl that you are having conflict with is probably only happy when she brings others down. What a miserable existence!

Anonymous said...

I think I'm similar to matter how horrible someone has been to me I make an excuse for them and just carry on as if they never hurt me.
Well no more. I don't want to be walked over all the time.
Sounds like this girl is a piece of work....I do hope you have the strength to walk away x

Carolina Girl said...

Turning the other cheek is SO tough!!! UGH! lol

cornflakegirl74 said...

This is so true. I don't necessarily think it's a bad personality flaw to see the good in people... it's when we think we can change them or that they don't really mean the things they do/say that we are only fooling ourselves. I've walked this earth for 30 years and have learned the importance of treating everyone with kindness... but I'm also able to walk away from someone when I feel kindness is not being reciprocated. In the end, life is too short to waste the good times on people who cause us harm and suffering.

(For the record, I also completely suck at confrontation so walking away is a bit more of a delicate approach).

Good stuff and thanks for sharing :)

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