Sunday, April 3, 2011
A Question is Worth a Thousand Words
I have nothing, but love and gratitude for people in my life who love me enough to call me out on my crap when necessary. This may not always come in the shape of a full-fledged admonishment or verbal spanking, but instead can appear as a subtle comment or question with the ability to convict, embarrass and correct. I know that your curiosity has now been piqued... ;) Allow me to paint a little backdrop.
Tonight I was talking to a good friend who lives halfway across the country. Whenever we have an opportunity to talk it is a treat, but this evening you would not have known it from the way I commenced to squandering our precious phone time by launching into a tirade about some dude that I can't stand. I blathered on about his arrogance and how he's so self-important that he does not even realize how unilaterally disliked he is.. I mean...I went ALL the way in, examples, citations, works cited. It was like I was giving a presentation on the dude for a grade! This is how thorough I was in the expression of my disdain for this fellow. I sought to justify my pettiness. Sure I was spending lots of energy not liking him and making sure everyone knew it, but it was my mission to excuse this pettiness through illustrating just how deserving he was of my rancor.
When I finally came up for air, my friend asked me this simple question: "Why are we still talking about this guy?" Ouch. Instant conviction.
The "interrogative methodology" as I will dub it, is really quite brilliant. It is the method psychologists have used for decades to help people arrive at breakthroughs allowing them to have agency and take responsibility. Questions are an extremely effective medium for forcing people to examine their own behavior, attitudes, tendencies and thought patterns. If my friend has said to me instead, "Janell, give it a rest. You've been talking about this dude for like 20 minutes now and that's kinda wack," I may have eschewed the truthfulness and validity of his statement in order to defend myself or nurse my wounded ego. The interrogative circumvents this by asking us to be the one to judge our own actions.
I did just that and what I came up with was that it is extremely unproductive and paltry for me spend ANY amount of time hating or talking negatively about anyone. Particularly because this person is busy loving himself and being happy. By answering my friends brief, yet pointed question I was granted the realization that while entitled to my opinions, I need to strive daily to transcend the pettiness of giving my valuable time and energy to anything that limits or subtracts from that which is important to my own growth, spiritual development and enlightenment.
I considered not posting this. I was going to stuff it away in a journal for my eyes only and privately stew in my shame, but a recent conversation with my father made me decide otherwise. He called Facebook, "BestFacebook" stating that people are only there to put their best faces on and hide their foibles, shortcomings and mistakes.
He believes that we are collectively missing a golden opportunity to learn valuable lessons from the reality of each other's lives. I hope that you are able to find value and insight in my blunders. By no means am I perfect, so I dare not pretend to be, but each day with the help of my closest friend and family I move closer to the person I want to be. Thank you for letting me share this journey with you.