Friday, May 18, 2012
Ahem. So. I am not perfect. I've certainly learned a lot since then and tend to communicate in a way more calm and polite manner, even when triggered or when things have gotten really bad. But, you know. It's a path. I'm still learning, and still practicing, and I will be the first to tell you that I am not perfect by any means. I say that a lot. Shit, I just said it twice in this paragraph.
Sometimes I do things that hurt others. Sometimes these are things that I can't imagine are hurtful by any means. And still people are hurt, and it grabs me by surprise. Sometimes, I actually think I am being nice. And the things I do still hurt other people. And sometimes I do something, knowing it will be hurtful. I am always sort of ashamed of myself, even while it is happening, but this is a conditioned tendency of mine. I learned to do this as a way to "win" arguments or disagreements or if I felt that someone was attacking me. It took many years and much reinforcement to adopt this behavior, and it is taking a lot of intentional work and deprogramming to be able to stop in moments of conflict and choose to act a different way. I am clear that this work is worth doing, as this kind of thing hardly ever happens anymore, I suppose as a result of this intentional work. I find that practicing the extension of compassion, embodying it, has helped me to stop and take a breath (sometimes a really long breath. Sometimes a few days or weeks or months of breathing.) so I can go back into the conversation from a place of trusting myself enough to not intentionally hurt the other person. This can be hard for people to understand, that one of the ways I try to mitigate the harm that I could potentially cause is by removing myself. I want to say, "I recognize this pattern, I've been here before, and oh lord, if you try to keep me talking, I pretty much guarantee you won't like what comes out." But I usually can't even get to that in such intense moments. I just need to remove myself.
I would like to have more choice in the ways that I respond to conflict. This is not the only way that I respond to any conflict, thank goodness. I am thankfully a bit more well-rounded than that. But when stuff gets pretty difficult, this is a common reaction. I think one of my next steps in this work will be to practice re-centering, holding my boundaries, respecting those of others, and staying connected in the midst of conflict. When it's that bad. But again, here I am. Right now. Just at this place. Learning about choice in conflict, step by step. Reducing harm by pulling away, taking a breather. Because that's what I'm capable of right now.
I am really, truly, actively, working on my shit, friends. I really am.
I want to respect and honor the scared and traumatized and ugly in everybody I am in relationship with, along with the beautiful and kind and gentle. And I need them to respect and honor that in me. I don't know how to move forward in relationship otherwise. Just as I am taking steps to not punish or shame others for any part of their wonderful, whole, human self that has brought them to this point, surviving against all odds, I need that back. I won't be shamed for my humanity. I am she who has yelled "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" and I am she who has held and nurtured and extended kindness to strangers. I am she who hit her sister growing up and she who has rescued runaway dogs. I am ugly, I am beautiful. I am mean, I am kind. I am growing.
I am trying.