Today's Reverb14 prompt came from Brad at Geekin' Hard. I remember Brad from previous years and am grateful Kat invited this prompt into the mix although at first I thought I had nothing to say about it.
Here is what Brad wrote, followed by my response. The photo is from him as well.
Despite our usually sunny dispositions and dedication to the practice of “assuming positive intent,” we all occasionally find ourselves having to deal with an incredibly unpleasant individual.
While I’m sure you always handle it with the tact and finesse for which you’ve become so well known, I’m going to ask you to step outside yourself for just a moment.
Think back to such a situation: if the gloves were off, how you really would have liked to have dealt with them?
I am not one who normally blows up or bites back. I am careful, conscious with my words to only be ones that will make situations better (and in my mind "positive") rather than fill the world with more anger and fear inducing words.
I am in a conscious journey of using anger consciously. It is a practice and certainly nothing I've perfected, but as I sat with the concept of "biting back" I remembered this Summer of home improvements and the tail end of my experience with our electrical rewire.
It was supposed to take three to four days and in the end it took over a month. They didn't work every day, but our house was shot up for over a month and still isn't completely back.
It was on the last day I blew.
The girls and I had driven to Ikea in Los Angeles to buy some light fixtures we were told we had to buy and when we were then told one of them wouldn't work and we were then told we didn't have to buy light fixtures anyway I finally let them know I was highly unsatisfied, had been highly unsatisfied and furthermore, I was not pleased at all with how we had been treated during the entire process.
In fact, I continued, what I was happiest about was the subcontracted plaster man who patched the many holes these "gentlemen" put in my walls.
The thing about biting back is it usually gets results and those results are usually based in fear. I don't like the way fear based energy feels rushing through me or rushing through the walls of my home. This is why I prefer to be conscious with my anger.
Do I wish I had bitten back sooner?
Well, I did on a smaller scale, but I think if we had actually taken the time to communicate honestly and clearly from the very beginning, we wouldn't have had the problem and perhaps, there would be less still undone from the project.
I remember on the day-before-the-last-day, I wrote a list for them, saying "This is what I see that needs to be completed." I was shocked at how they went after that list with such focus and enthusiasm. I didn't know I could actually give professionals a list of stuff to do with my limited knowledge.
If I had known more, if I had trusted myself more, if I had asked more questions and been more steadfast as the job went on and on and on perhaps the final blow up wouldn't have had to happen with such an extreme rush of "I am so unhappy with your work!" power.
At least it wasn't, "you guys are complete screw ups!" which is what it could have been, I suppose.
HA! Did you get that distinction?
Even in my biting back I had shreds of consciousness I didn't recognize until right now. I didn't use the "YOU" comments, I reported on my unhappiness on their work, not their personhood.
Maybe this is why within a couple hours they fixed everything I complained about in my ranting moments. They fixed their work. They finished. My entire house is filled with light. There is still finising up I need to do, but now that I've written this, I feel a certain vigor about the project I haven't felt for a while.
I realize, also, the person I tend to bite-back the most is myself.
As I look toward 2015, I aim to be more conscious with my biting back at myself and to remember the vigor I feel right now rather than the concern about the size of the task and whether or not I am individually "up to it."
Now, onto this day, this gift I have been given.
I'm grateful you are reading.
This post was inspired by Reverb: most specifically the prompt from Kat McNally. You may follow along as well. Visit Kat's World at "I Saw You Dancing" and receive the prompts by email and plug into the extraordinary group of writers pondering, reflecting and taking action daily throughout the month of December.
Julie Jordan Scott is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming Fall and Winter, 2014 and beyond.
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