Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Who are we really mad at?

We are never so much disposed to quarrel with others as when we are dissatisfied with ourselves.
William Hazlitt

It was maybe a year ago when I came to a realization very similar to this quote... I think I was lying in bed, worried about something, angry about someone. When I looked up at Clint and said, I think I'm critical of other people because of how critical I am of myself. And for things where I'm a rather harsh critic of myself, I can be even harsher on others. I can get mad at someone for not taking on recycling as a personal responsibility. But because of the doomsday philosophy I have regarding recycling, the devil horns can sprout in seconds if I know someone isn't doing their part to save the fragile earth... Maybe they just don't know how important it is or maybe they're just too lazy to save the garbage to recycle later. But because I failed to save the rainforests, this poor person is going to endure the wrath of Marge.

I take disagreements very personally and this, unfortunately, can be a fatal flaw. This is something I (sometimes) work on. I usually realize too late how far my judgment and criticism can go--something most people are guilty of.

Maybe the real problem, deep down, is how we feel about ourselves. What is it that really matters to us? In a recent correspondence I received, I felt as though the sender was suggesting my purpose in life was to support my husband and his dreams and goals. My initial reaction, completely dismissing the intention of the letter and its context, was that this person must think I have no dreams and goals of my own. "Ummm.. what the fuck?" moment, right? But if that's not what the person meant... why did I read it that way?

Maybe the real problem is I’m scared of my ambitions… scared I’ll never succeed or even attempt them. Other people will acknowledge this and say I’m being a good wife, I'm supporting my bread winning husband. When in reality, I’m just a coward and I’ll resent myself and Clint for it. If I become a housewife, and my goals and dreams fade, I would rather have people look at me as a housewife and think Wow, what a shame... she had so much potential for this, this, this… instead she gave it up? ...rather than say, She is doing what she is supposed to do, she is being an Air Force wife and supporting his dreams… I would rather have people be sad I didn’t push myself in a leading role rather than have people praise me for being in a supporting role… After all, I've worked too hard to let my potential go to waste--I want people to acknowledge my potential and intelligence, even if it's painfully wasted. I don't want my ambitions shoved to the wayside because a family happened, even if I acknowledge it as the priority. I want my dreams to be supported too and if I fail at them I would rather have people be disappointed because they knew I could do it rather than have them sigh and say, 'About time you came to your senses"...

Is that so wrong? Am I right to be upset? Or am I projecting...

Projection is tough to identify and even scarier to deal with... make sure inward anger doesn’t get directed outward inadvertently. Correct it if it does, acknowledge the true problem. It will help all your relationships if you can realize what you are truly angry about...

1 comment:

  1. I'm always sad I find kindreds at the end of our time some place. Dinner with you guys tonight was a refreshment of spirit.

    I know you are a good human... I love your blog.

    And I'm not trying to be a creepy stalker... I was really looking for "Pothole" on youtube... but Facebook addiction trumps all.

    I look forward to reading more of your sentiments... I completely GET this post and I am glad it is out there.