Watch for the following themes right now:
* People who you can’t get mad at because they make getting mad at them more difficult and complicated than NOT sharing your frustration or anger
* Someone who takes any suggestion or criticism as a personal attack and then not only doesn’t listen to the suggestion but then goes on to shame, guilt, blame, or attack the person making the constructive criticism
* Someone who can do nothing but think about themselves, tends to take the credit for things that aren’t their own, and seldom says “thank you.”
* Someone who uses one hot-button issue after another, one cause after another, to prop up their ego…”as long as I’m fighting for something transcendent, then I’m the right kind of person.”
* The odd way in which legitimate victims tend to get overlooked because of the way they are used for political/social arguments or platforms
* When someone hoards the mourning or grieving process of a loss that belongs to more than just one’s self
* When someone doesn’t ask for help enough and when they finally do ask for help they are agitated that nobody’s been offering it
* Someone complaining about the lives other people get to live compared to their own, while doing nothing to change their circumstances
* Someone not taking into account that someone else’s unfortunate circumstances aren’t as simple as “their own damn fault”
* Not recognizing that “personal” issues are also social, historical, cultural, ethnic, sexual, racial, religious issues…
It’s easy for us to feel justified in our complaints and criticisms…it’s easy for us to feel like victims too. Maybe one of the best questions we can ask ourselves right now is “How can I stop caring so much about what I care about the most without throwing away what I care about?”
There are different ways of caring..some take more subtlety and patience than others.
Also…a very simple but very relevant question right now, “What do I know to be true, and what’s keeping me from trusting it?” We have a million and one excuses to not listen to our own inner truth, especially when that inner truth requires some work or greater responsibility or commitment or focus.
There is a way to do this kindly.
There is a way to complain intelligently.
There is a way to take criticism in stride.
There is a way to sincerely apologize without feeling “bad” about ourselves.
There is a way hold ourselves accountable without forgetting larger mitigating factors.
There is a way to forgive that isn’t just forgetting.
There is a way to set boundaries that isn’t just legalistic or condemning of what’s on the other side.
There is a way to feel passionately while also not caring one bit.
Prayer: here now ending, the winter of our discontent…
Image by courtesy of Doug Brown, at creative commons image licensing