Thursday, January 16, 2020

Relationship Advice: It's OK To Make Mistakes

I know a couple of people who are critical of everyone around them.

Kind of like me on this blog. :-)

One particular person starts trashing people within 15 seconds of getting in the car with me. How they drive, how they look, what they did at work yesterday, it's a nonstop cataract of sneering. It drives me batty, but I've never found a way to make it stop. My first instinct is to rip his life to shreds to see if he can discover some humility. I don't act on that.

This morning, I spent some time researching ways to cope and discovered some interesting sites, but none of them really clicked with me. One message board featured a husband discussing how his wife corrected absolutely everything he did. He related a story about how even napkin folding became a opportunity for correction. He responded in anger.
The argument began like this: She made the comment about the way I was folding the napkins. I sighed heavily, and gave her a look like "Are you kidding me?!?!" After all, I was trying to help her out. Her response was: "Don't give me that look." I then proceeded to unleash a tirade on her for a couple of minutes bringing up everything from her distaste of her own mother's controlling nature to her own hypocritical way of dealing with me. I don't suppose she took too kindly to that.
I can't say I blame him. I love polemics and they come naturally to me. If I let myself go on someone who was going after me like this, you'd be able to see the mushroom cloud 50 miles away. Instead, I do my best to bottle it up.

Allow me to suggest that anger, even suppressed anger, is the wrong approach. Instead, embrace humanity.

It's OK to make mistakes. It's OK to be sub-optimal. Everyone is. Not everything has to be done perfectly, not every flaw needs to be corrected.

Sometimes, I think that my hyper-critical friend is simply practicing a strategy of first strike. He himself has all kinds of flaws, many of which are visible. I think he's hitting first so their criticism of him, which never comes except in his own mind, is less potent.

Even for him, it's OK to be imperfect. If you deeply embrace this in your heart, I wonder if the irritation you feel when you are corrected over and over again will be replaced with a wry smile and a gentle attempt to get the other person to see that as well.

More tomorrow. Love you guys. Thanks for reading.

You can be just what the world needs even though you're imperfect.


ligneus said...

Methinks you have knowledge of the Stoics!

K T Cat said...

I weep the bitter tears of shame that I have never read the Stoics! They're on my Audible wish list and my next credits show up on January 20 ...

ligneus said...

A good introduction inc. history of.

[I know, don't end a sentence with a preposition. What did you bring that book that I didn't want to be read to out of up for.]

Amazing Science said...

i hit my girlfriend but i love her