“It’s not convenient for me to come help you right now. Why don’t you just take a cab home and we can deal with it in the morning?”
These are the words my beloved speaks into the phone when I call him in a confused state after trying to open the doors of my car.
Everything is dead. The FOB doesn’t work. There’s no flashing red light from the security system. No click when I press the button on the door handle that should lead to the door automatically opening.
There’s also no key to unlock the door.
Of course, I’m ticked at my husband. Why on earth can’t he come and rescue me? Right now.
My ‘ticked-offedness’ is not based on reality. He is with a friend who is dying. They don’t expect him to live through the night. He has spent the afternoon and early part of the evening with his friend, his wife and family. He just wants to get off the phone as quickly as possible as he is in an emotionally challenging place and can’t deal with much else.
Not knowing where he’s at emotionally, I filter my feelings/thoughts through my experience and base my response only on his words, which I judge to be a tad off-putting.
And yeah, I just might have been a little bit snippety when I responded.
How often do we do this? Hear something and leave out, or don’t get the context of, what the other person is experiencing? We filter their response through our experience and make judgments about them and their words that lead us to respond in not so kind, considerate or thoughtful ways?
The converse can also be true. For C.C., he could not know how his words would trigger me. But then, until I heard them, neither could I.
Not feeling like I matter, or that I’m important enough for someone else to come to my defense or support is an old pattern of thinking/feeling for me. Most times, I am aware of this belief pattern and am able to frame my response and understanding through my self-awareness.
Sometimes, I’m just not there.
Being conscious and aware of this pattern is vital to ensuring a conversation doesn’t go from “hello” to a deep dive into resentment, anger, confusion, because the other person didn’t respond the way we wanted or expected. In that deep dive away from searching for intimacy to deepening our insistence of being right, we often say and do things we wish we hadn’t.
I don’t know about you, but I really do my best not to say or do things I’ll later regret!
We are all just humans on the journey of our lifetime. And sometimes, that journey is filled with moments where we do not act up to our higher good and instead, sink down to our baser instinct to always be right, always win, always have the last word.
Fortunately, C.C. and I have an agreement. If one of us says, “Can we begin again?”, there’s only one permissible response.
In beginning again, whatever the inciting incident, we both agree to release it as we begin again from the sacred ground of our love for one another. In that sacred space, we do and all we are for and with each other comes through the desire to deepen intimacy through love.
And while some days, the critter in me would rather I just stand my ground in self-righteous victim-hood, my heart always knows the truth, to begin again is the way of Love.