Tuesday, December 6, 2011

embracing kindness.

So I have a homework assignment this week. And for the rest of my life.

I told you before about how I'm going to see a therapist now to deal with new mommy issues -- but things are going so well on the me-and-L front that we've started talking about other stuff. And here's something I definitely need to work on: being a super-competitive, overly-sarcastic know-it-all.

I am exaggerating a little bit, but just a little. I have such a bad tendency to go right for the jugular with cutting comments when I'm feeling stressed or low, especially with people who are really close to me. (Sorry, husband.) If you know anything about personality types, I'm an ESTJ and an Enneagram type one, which basically means I make snap judgments about everything, I have a tendency to see everything in black and white, and I am naturally inclined to feel morally superior to everyone around me (and force them to feel that I am, too). Doesn't that make you want to hang out with me? (Okay, there are lots of amazing things about ESTJs and Ones, too -- just look at the list of who else is one! But I don't have to work on the stuff that's going well already, right?)

The breaking point came the other day when I felt myself wanting to post a really mean comment on someone's Facebook page. She had said something to me a few months ago that really hurt my feelings (I'm sure totally unintentionally, as is usually the case anyway), and I wanted to call her out on her hypocrisy. Publicly. On a congratulatory thread about an amazing, life-changing event that happened to her that she had excitedly shared with all of us. Yep, I suck. (For the record, I talked myself out of doing it and wrote something really nice. But I felt like a total scumbag for even thinking about it. Still do.)

So I'm working on it. Because, at the end of the day, even though being right has always been really important to me, I would much rather be remembered for being kind. My therapist gave me this quote -- she said it was from Dr. Wayne Dyer, but I can't find any online evidence that this is directly from him, so I'm crediting her instead. (You're welcome, Terri.) She said to repeat it to myself every time I felt myself being pulled towards an "I told you so" or a "Well, that's just stupid" or whatever happened to be on the tip of my tongue. And you know what? It's working. I hope that someday I will be at the point where I don't have to visibly pause and watch the words scroll through my brain before I say something, but it's a start, right?

There it is: my new year's resolution, one month early. It feels kinda good to blog about it and make it "real." If you're working on a new version of you, too, let me know about it so I can cheer you on!

(I actually wrote an essay about my need to be right for the NPR This I Believe program. If you're interested, you can read it here.)


  1. You're still a better person than most just because you admit that you have the problem. I applaud you for trying to work on it.

    I have the opposite problem. I get walked all over and admit defeat when I know that I'm correct. Wouldn't it be nice to have a good balance? lol

  2. Wow, it's really courageous to accept one's flaws. Even more admirable that you're willing to change. Congrats! I know you'll accomplish your goal.

  3. I am an INFP, the exact opposite of you! But I feel you on the "always wanting to be right and wanting everyone to know it" thing. Hopefully that quote will help me too.

  4. That is a great quote. Definitely something to keep in mind as I go through the day at my lovely job, where I tend to think the same way --if everyone just did things my way, the girl right out of colllege with zero experience, it would be better!

    Anyway, I also read your essay. What a powerful story. Thank you so much for sharing! Really makes me stop and not take things for granted.

  5. Thanks so much everybody -- it feels a little bit humiliating to share one's faults but I guess we've all got them, right? :)

  6. Oooh, I forgot what I was E-something...

    But I love those kinds of tests!

    And what's wrong with being kind AND right???