“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” ~Ambrose Bierce
Yesterday, I failed to maintain my composure. I expressed anger and dished back what I had thought been given. I believe myself to be one who usually can rise above pettiness and boorish behavior. Yesterday was different. I allowed others to get under my skin, and push buttons I don't usually let people know even exists.
I believe strongly in manners and politeness. In fact, I would say that most people that know me well would probably say being too nice is among my (many) faults. I have a different take on this. I take great pride in the fact that I (almost) always use great discipline in not expressing anger and personal unpleasantness. I try very hard to not share everything thing I think or believe, even when it is so tempting to "set" a person straight on where they are wrong. (Of course, there are exceptions, and I do believe in some cases, especially those where it is clearly a 'right or wrong' moral issue, silence condones consent. I absolutely have no problem voicing my difference). But more often than not, I think most people think their 'opinions' are the most correct and subsequently make it very apparent, with no discretion, in advertising confidence and certainty of their 'rightness.' A lot of these folks are the type who just love to hear themselves talk....
Communicating every random thought or feeling with the world is just not what I want to do. Keeping things close to the heart is increasingly harder. We live in an age that anyone and everyone can have a megaphone (FaceBook, Twitter) to express every inane and tawdry stream of consciousness tidbit. Rudeness is celebrated and encouraged (cable news programs & reality shows, anyone?). Civility has become a precious commodity and seems to be increasingly scarce. So often we see calculated and deliberate attempts to ridicule, disrespect and destroy others with impunity.
I try very hard to filter what I say, and try even harder to demonstrate maturity and politeness (yes, probably to my own detriment at times). I don't believe it wise to show everyone the 'metaphorical' cards I am holding. There are people who would never know that I personally do not like them or think them to be incredibly sophomoric. Some would perhaps call this duplicitous. Maybe so. But the intent is much less sinister. Why engage in something that really isn't necessary, and may cost more than expected?
“Angry people want you to see how powerful they are... loving people want you to see how powerful You are.” ~Chief Red Eagle
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” ~Gautama Buddha
I am frustrated that I allowed others' anger and stupidity to become mine. I like to think it is rare. Lately, though, it seems that I care less and less what others think and tempted to just let things spill out without thinking. It's not so much that I am concerned about what people think, but rather, that I don't allow myself to be drug down to the lowest common denominator of crass and shallow behavior. Self-discipline and self-respect means to hold yourself to a higher bar of expectations and accountability....yesterday I failed. I hope to do better today.