About 10 ago I had wonderful relationship with a great man. He was a few years older than me, but not by much. But looking back on some of the things he said and did, it pains me to admit that he was eons more mature than I was.
I had a speeding ticket and had decided to get a lawyer to try and get out of it. (Something I still regret. It was a waste of money and time. Just pay the ticket and take the deferred adjudication!)
My court appointment was mid-Wednesday morning. My partner and I had breakfast together because I lived close to the court house and did not have to report until midmorning. It was a glorious morning, a different routine, a day off of work, and I was (mistakenly) hopeful about getting a lawyer for this speeding ticket. Something happened toward the end of our breakfast to get under my skin. Probably nothing, but I felt wronged enough that I couldn’t let it sit.
The immature action:
As we were parting ways, I threw in some rude and snotty remark. I don’t remember what it was, but I remember his reaction. He was mad. Like really, really mad. This man did not get mad. He was the epitome of calm and rational.
I thought I could laugh it off and it would be fine. I thought it would blow over.
I went to court. Found out getting a lawyer for a speeding ticket was a stupid idea and waste of money, then called him to see if he wanted to hang out.
The mature action:
His response to my phone call was, “I love you, but I am very very angry. I do not want to see you right now. I do not want to discuss this because I will say something I regret.”
I was hurt, but it was my fault. I was shocked that he did not want to talk it out.
I did. I wanted to apologize. I wanted to take my horrible remark back and hang out.
But I couldn’t take it back.
When we say things, we can apologize. We can say we did not mean it, but the ghost of the words are still there. Hanging around in our memory and haunting our interactions.
We all get angry. It’s human nature, and it is ok.
It is how we chose to handle that anger.
If we can recognize the emotion, have the maturity to hold our tongue, and wait until we can calmly discuss the offense we can stop unnecessary pain and drama. It is an important decision. We must decide to protect those we love from our verbal wrath instead of throwing words carelessly about. Reckless words leave wounds deeper than can be seen by the eye…and only can be felt by the heart.
The next time you get angry. Like really angry where you want someone to hurt like you are and understand what they did wrong, why they are wrong, why they suck…
I challenge you to sit with your anger long enough that you can say something that will not damage a relationship or damage a person.
Not everything is worth saying.
Hold your tongue.