Sitting over a fantastic lunch with my friend Ariann, we talked seriously about the struggles in our lives and how we deal with them in the most positive ways we can. I always appreciate talking to someone who is very different from me -- Ariann is happy and gracious and kind and SO HAPPY (even when she's not) -- because I am reminded to look at things in other ways. Having someone who can say "Wait, did you think about it this way?" is always a good experience. I love talking to her about things -- from family, to relationships, to careers, to spirituality. We have a ton of fun and also come to brilliant and thoughtful conclusions.
So, when we talked about our current struggles, she presented something to me I had not thought of before. I explained how some less than desirable behaviours of a few key people were making things extremely difficult in my life. This is when Ariann exclaimed, "How terrible it must be to be them!"
I had never thought about it that way.
I always focus on the victims in a situation. It's who I am and what I do. From the time I was old enough to think, I was standing in between a bully and a victim as often as I could. I always looked at the effects on the person or group that was targeted. I've never looked at the aggressor. When she said, "How horrible must it be to cause people that much pain?", I had to stop cold and think.
I know when I do something wrong that effects other people, I feel terrible. I mull it over, I fret about it, I dream about it, I talk about it. All the time. I once did something to someone when I was 19 working at Zellers. To this day, I feel guilty about it and my stomach hurts when I think about it. You know what I did? I drank some pop from a guy's soda when he left the room.
I drank some Coke that wasn't mine and almost 20 years later I could vomit right now. (Side note: Yes, I'm aware I need therapy.)
I know many people who are the cause of other people's pain do not know what they do. Some who do, may not care. Others may not recognize their roles until much too late. But any way you slice it, how unhappy are you that you cause misery for others? How sad is that? Even if it does not take away what is wrong nor does it make it okay that it occurred (or continues) it is an interesting thought. The people making your life miserable may regret it and, if they don't, they still are living with the consequences of being evil asshats.
While I'm not yet willing to sweep it all under the rug or sing Kumbya while growing my armpit hair, I am trying to view things differently. I'm not sure what actions I will put in place to accommodate my alternate thinking pattern, but it's a step.
Look at me. I'm growing.
Right now, I think I will settle for no longer wishing bodily harm to those who have crossed me.