I received an email recently that had me jumping on my high horse quicker than you can say ‘hi ho Silver, away!’
I had sent an email outlining some concerns about a particular issue and was waiting for a response. When it came I was shocked. The reply felt condescending, dismissive and disdainful. And that icky biggie – patronising.
I was angry and ready to fire a big one.
As I stomped around the house unleashing the beast, I could feel the righteous anger brewing. I don’t feel it often but when I do, oh boy, can I taste its bile.
But it’s a complicated situation. Not easily defined. There would be consequences if I went with all guns blazing.
I was also hurt. Why would someone talk to me in this way? Are my feelings and concerns invalid and stupid?
I hit a wall.
So I vented to a small group friends, name-calling using words I never normally utter. The story I was constructing felt so real it was closing in on me.
Then I turned to my go-to of communication and relationship integrity – my brother. I wanted to know how to respond to this email hand-grenade.
While I waited for his input and unable to sleep, I mentally scripted different replies, from defensive to vulnerable, passive aggressive to factual.
The next morning, I received my brother’s counsel.
“Don’t take it personally. It has zero to do with you.
And things communicate EXTREMELY poorly in an email. Too open to interpretation and for the receiver to make up the wrong meanings. They could’ve been coming from a place of familiarity and love in communicating this. Who knows?
If they weren’t coming from love, bring compassion. Put yourself in their shoes. You don’t know what they’ve been dealing with in the lead up to the response to you.
Give up being right about them. Forgive”.
I followed his suggestion of replying with a simple ‘Got it, thanks’. And with that came another level of peace.
I disengaged from my righteous anger and let that story float away. I returned to my place of love.
This shit ain’t easy, people. Feelings get hurt, stories are made up and sometimes lives changed forever.
We bump up against each other all the time. Most often these encounters have smooth edges and round surfaces. But when there are hooks and barbs, you get to choose whether to stay tangled up or find a way to slip out peacefully.
Stay in the Game. Give yourself permission to feel big. Stay curious and open. Tend to your hurting heart. Reach out if you’re hitting a wall.
Inspiration to live a Brave Vulnerable Audacious life
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