7/15/10

because I'm not very conservative and sometimes I'm a big jerk about it

There's someone in my life that I love dearly, but very often, we don't see eye to eye. More like toe to forehead. We're both stubborn and sensitive, so this can be...interesting.

(No, it's not the Ryan. My dear husband and I see eye to eye on most things. Or at least nose to chin, or something close together like that.)

The thing about this other person is that I honestly really like him, even though we want to kick each other in the teeth over our opposite opinions sometimes. I've heard he thinks that I don't like him. But I do. I've always felt a kinship to him, seen the beauty of his heart, and have never, no matter what, been unable to forgive him. He's good, and I respect him and love to laugh with him. That's the truth.

Because of sobriety, and the way it sheds light on what needs working on in one's heart and soul and mind and body (yes, it's beautifully exhausting) I catch myself more now, or I hope too, anyway. I want to be less stubborn and prideful, more at ease and accepting and less sarcastically mouthy.

I want to walk away before I say things like, "Well, you can't base your opinions simply on what you feel about something before you even educate yourself."

This was the opposite of what this particular person needed to hear. It was a slap in the face and I knew it. If you knew him, you would know this was a cruel response. It was a kick in the gut for a number of reasons.

And no, I'm not going to beat myself up over it, I'm simply going to apologize.

This need to be right at all costs runs in my family, and it is so terribly unattractive. I carry it with me, and am nothing but overwhelmed with relief to see it slowly change over the years, for the better, not just in me, but in the people I love.

I want to just let go of it, this screaming and stomping stubborn insistence that I be heard and then told that I am exactly spot on correct, about whatever silly or un-silly thing we're discussing. I want to be done with this belief that I have all the answers and they are the right answers, and your opinions are probably too conservative or too slanted or just plain wrong. I want to be free of the fight in me, the welling of emotion so strong it races my heart and puts me in fight mode. I want to tranquilize the bear that growls and swipes and knocks down, only for a tiny moment of false victory.

The reality is, we're just people, so we're probably both at least partially wrong every single time.

The truth, it stands on its own, no matter what we think. The truth needs no defenders. It doesn't need us to stand head to head, eyes lit up with frustration, while pushing up dirt with our feet. It doesn't need us to see eye to eye. The truth simply is, no matter what we say or do.

I want enough humility to feel that, to really feel it. To not secretly believe that I know best as I fill my mind and heart with more ammo for my side, by reading and listening to all kinds of things that align with my slant, while my chest puffs up with opinions to be spewed. I don't want to be that person. I just don't.

The truth is (at least I hope, and if I'm wrong, the real truth will still stand anyway, so it's totally fine), we're all on the same team. No matter how different we are, we're the same. We would be able to live that in the most beautiful way, if only we could see beyond our differences, accepting each other exactly as we are while accepting anyone else, no matter how different they are from us. And maybe we would even let go of expecting others to morph into some other version of themselves that we expect and want, if only we could keep the bigger picture of truth in mind, instead of distracting ourselves over things that aren't as big as we make them.

That bigger picture? love. sacrifice. service. grace.

Yeah, maybe these thoughts are just Naive Heather Idealistic Impossibilities. Maybe this acceptance and humility thing is ridiculous, a foreign concept from a utopia that could never possibly exist in this world. But I'm still going to hope for it, because that's the kind of stubborn I'd like to be.

And you, the guy I'm talking about, you know who you are...

Brother dude, we make a good team. I'm sorry I acted like a big jerk.

~~~~~

Check out Robin's post about her inner jerk at Life...On Its Own Terms. My favorite part:

"It's a personality flaw that long pre-dates my addiction, but they thrive on each other's company. A response to extreme stress, a false bravado, a swagger designed to camouflage how badly my knees are shaking." - Robin

23 clicked right here to comment:

warmchocmilk said...

This was good timing. I recently said something I shouldn't have and that need to be right runs in my family too! Thanks.

~*Michelle*~ said...

*rubbing my toes*

OUCH!

This is so me......and I so needed to read this today. I, too, suffer from "the need to be right" alot. Or maybe it's "I need to be heard" syndrome.....

whatever it is....it can be ugly.

I love this

" The truth needs no defenders."

great post....loved every word.

Elaine A. said...

You have NO idea HOW MUCH I can relate to this. Your eloquence on this topic (and so many others) speaks to my heart at a time that I need it most. I mean WOW.

This is why I 'heart' you SO much Heather. Your speak to my soul so very often. Never stop writing, k?

XO

Christine said...

I suspect most of us Type A moms (is it fair that I lump you in with that?), feel this, live and breathe it. I've been noticing this change in myself over the last couple of years, actually since having children. It has mellowed me, and my driving need to be right and have an opinion on everything is subsiding. I've realized that yes it's important to have an opinion, but that it's only mine and that's okay. I offer my perspective on issues, but I feel less need to convince others to think the same. And it's freeing. But here's the catch, if you are like me, you'll see this shift in your self over time, but it won't happen to people you generally surround yourself with. And that's hard. It's hard because you wish they would afford you the same courtesy of your own opinions that you now feel comfortable giving them. And you realize that some people will never get there. They just need to be right. It feels good that you don't have to anymore, but it's hard to be around others who do.

Okay I'm rambling...can you tell I've had some personal experience with this of late?
xo

thepsychobabble said...

my husband and I are on opposite ends of the political/social issues spectrum. And there are some things that we've had to agree just not to discuss, because we both care so much about it, but in such different ways, that we wind up acting like a-holes to each other.

Cameron said...

Oh friend, we are on opposite sides of the same battle. I'm trying to become more forceful, speak up for myself more often, especially when I know that I'm right. I hate conflict and confrontation... if someone is argumentative I will almost always back down just to avoid the conflict. I'd rather they think I'm wrong than to fight about it. And it often comes back to bite me and whoever was arguing with me. When it turns out that I was correct, that the wrong decision was made, they ask me, "Well, if you knew you were right, why didn't you argue your point, why didn't you tell me/us why we should do it your way?" BECAUSE YOU WERE YELLING, that's why. BECAUSE YOU WERE BULLYING.

This learning I'm trying to do, it's hard. I'm trying to focus on speaking up, but when I'm speaking up against someone loud, I unconsciously match them in volume and tone... and since I'm normally soft spoken, this freaks them out and they think I'm mad or being rude or whatever... even though I'm just matching their tone and volume, and they don't understand that *they* sound the same way. It's a challenge. I'm working on it.

Anyway, just a little perspective from the other side of things. :) Good luck to both of us! :)

Heather of the eo said...

Cameron, to be totally honest, I'm much the same way. I'm trying to overcome a passive-aggresive way of responding. Because I too hate conflict so I end up not saying anything, or saying very little and then exploding at some point with sarcasm, etc. I can't stand it. I need to find the balance. Oh...balance...there's that word...again.

DeNae said...

First, to jump in on Cameron and your conversation (something which says a lot about me!) I have a loud voice. It carries for miles. And I have a very confident demeanor. Which means, I'm the one poor Cameron is feeling like she has to yell at in order to be heard. I just wanted to say, there's another possibility, and that is, the person doing the talking really doesn't mean to be a bully; they're working on their default communication setting at the same time that you're working on yours. At least if the other party in question is me.

Wait til your kids are the ones with the opposing, albeit informed, opinions. Whoa, Nelly. Talk about having to reel in every "I'm right because I'm your mother" instinct you ever had!

One thing that helps me when discussing social issues is to think of all the players in the "Pharmacy Break-In" scenario. The one where a man steals medicine from a pharmacy because he can't afford to care for his sick child otherwise. If I assume that everyone is a "good" person, then it's easier to see all sides.

Sometimes I'm the man with the sick child. And sometimes I'm the sick child. And sometimes I'm the pharmacy owner. And sometimes I'm his wife. Everyone plays a part, everyone has a position to defend, and they may well be in conflict with one another.

Even acknowldeging that much makes a huge difference in how I handle differences of opinion.

DeNae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DeNae said...

Sorry, my other comment posted twice. And as long as I'm back, it occurs to me that there are even more players in the pharmacy scenario: The sheriff, the judge, the community that wants to feel safe against burglars, the doctor. To call things "conservative" or "liberal" so obscenely oversimplifies things it's too bad we even have access to the terms.

OK, I'm shutting up now.

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

Wow, this is my first visit, and I just wanted to let you how wonderful your writing is. Unbeleivable. I rely heavily on pictures to tell my stories, you words are more than enough. Thank you for blogging.
Dana

Tooje said...

Feels good to say things like this, doesn't it? :) The I'm sorry. Yeah...I need to get a LOT better at everything you just wrote. I wish you luck, I wish me luck. Happy Thursday.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

I second Dana, you're such a beautiful writer - and being able to look at this situation with so much empathy and clarity showcases you're a pretty awesome person too.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I believe it's possible to achieve that level of humility because I've seen it in others. Maybe they don't have to work as hard as some of us (ahem), but then again, I don't really believe any of us can get there without a lot of Help.

Kazzy said...

You are a humble person and it will all work out. There are certain things that I do some emotional foot stomping about.

Carrie said...

I was having a text argument last night and at one point I thought, I am not going to change his mind. There is no way he's going to text me back and say oh you are so right and I am so wrong. I wish I could realize that earlier and choose not to engage in the fight to begin with.

Mary said...

Trust me when I say you are not being naive. Not at all. It took me a very long time to know what acceptance and humility really is but slowly but surely it came. For me it just took a lot of practice every day.You'll get it!

Erin said...

I could have written this. I never know when to stop speaking up, even when I know that I'm not going to change a person's mind. When I'm passionate, I just cannot SHUT UP. It's lead to yelling matches with my father-in-law and, well, both of us should know better.
I want to be gracious and say, "Yes, I understand why you feel this way. I hope you understand why I feel a different way," but I can never quite get my mouth to make those words.

Casey Freeland said...

Paraphrasing a quote here:

The most heated arguments, the most passionate debates are those with no clear solution. The more heated and passionate, the less likely a common solution exists.

It's true, in politics, religion, parenting, love...

We are all the same, by the way, at our core. We all want food, shelter, security and to be desired and loved.

All of us.

Great post.

Casey

alexis said...

i think it's safe to say that not being able to control my mouth is one of my biggest flaws. i'm working on it, though.

rebecca @ altared spaces said...

My step-father was a "need-to-be-right" kind of person and growing up with him squishing every conversation partner like a bug was...not very fun.

As I grew older, however, I began to see more clearly how much that need to be right in him came from a place of pain. He needed to be right because that's where his value came from: his intelligence. He didn't feel loved until he felt valuable.

Slowly, geologic time slowly, we worked on him, making him feel loved because he breathed air.

He exited the planet a much softer version than when I met him. He taught me more lessons about Grace and the power of Love than I think anyone in my life.

Transformational.

Good reminder today.

Allison @ Alli 'n Son said...

It's really an eye opener to see these "flaws" about yourself isn't it? I've noticed that I tend to be judgmental. Over the last 7 months I've really been working on it. Having a child is what prompted the change in me.

Good for you for apologizing. That's the hardest part sometimes.

mama-face said...

Oh, these thoughts and feelings of yours always get to me-they are so familiar to me-I've told you so many times that I feel you are a kindred spirit that you are probably a bit freaked out.......

Anywho, The Golden Rule comes to mind when I ponder the way I treat (or think about) others I judge for not thinking or acting the way I think they should. Not that I act on it often-but I do think about it.

(Gah. That paragraph is a circle of confusion. sorry).

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