There is a certain dynamic that exists between women, all women, where we attempt to one-up each other, prove we are the actual center of attention, or otherwise be hateful to each other in order to gain a man's favor. Girl Games. If you do not know what I am talking about, you are most likely a man.
I found myself in the middle of them very recently, and my unfortunate initial reaction was not good. Not good at all. It was, in fact, very Girl Game-y.
I will spare you the incredibly ridiculous and embarrassing details. Suffice it to say that it is incredibly challenging for me to take the high road on these occasions. First of all, the air up there is incredibly thin. Secondly, I have a history of anger, rage, and emotional outbursting (a new term I have recently created) in stressful situations.
The good news is that this time, I stopped. After very nearly acting out in rage and frustration, I took a walk instead. I ate some chocolate. I talked with a friend. Then, I took the highest road possible. I apologized for my rudeness.
When I did, the Girl Gamer in question pretended to not know what I was talking about, but it didn't matter. I knew that if I had given in to my rage, I would have felt horrible about myself. In treating a Girl Gamer with kindness and respect, I was able to leave the situation feeling pretty good about myself; I was able to look back upon the incident feeling like I had not given anything away.
I know if I had done something destructive or mean, I would only be destroying myself. I would not have proven anything, and I would be regretting what I had done for weeks.
I was able to make this choice because I know the feeling of the other. I know the feeling of regret, of staying awake at night wishing I had gone another way, of wanting to take back every mean thing that had come out of my mouth. In short, I was able to make this choice because of all the pain I have caused myself in the past by being cruel.
That is why I consider this a practice. I have to work at it. I have to be mindful of it, and most importantly, I have to be able to cool down, step back and look at the big picture of Sara. I have to ask myself who I want to be, and answer with the appropriate behavior.
I like to think of my initial emotional response as one from the woman who forgot herself; the woman who could not remember her greatness. She is delightfully chaotic, as Steve Maraboli says, but she is someone who causes problems that last too long to make that small angry moment worth it.
I do still stumble a lot; I act out on my fears and insecurities and regret ever having opened my mouth. These small moments of victory keep me moving forward and keep me in the practice. They give me hope for myself and show me the benefit of not doing that wrong thing that the weaker part of me wants to do so badly.
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