“You are a good person,” my friend told me today.
“I am?” I thought. What about all those times I am cursing people out, making them wrong, and talking badly about them?
“Hmmmmmm,” I thought. “Could I actually be good? Let see………….”
I don’t start about being bad. I think my “badness” comes from thinking I was insulted. Just yesterday I was playing tennis with my brother, son, and niece’s husband. I knew I wasn’t playing well. I was tired after going on a 2 hour walk earlier with my daughter and had also worked out for an hour and a half before that. (It was Saturday so I had time). My legs were sore and I had a hard time running for the ball. It felt like I was running on knives.
I made a comment when we got back into the house about all the exercise I had done, including the tennis.
“You DIDN’T play tennis,” my brother said.
Immediately, my mood shifted. “Fuck him,” I thought. “What an ass hole.” I knew I was playing badly, but I DID PLAY. I felt insulted and a little resentful. I did NOT feel like a good person anymore. More like a nasty, revengeful little bitch.
I like to think I know better than that, so I tried not to dwell on his comment. I tried to get past it and feel the love again, but it kept returning to my thoughts, despite my intentions.
I didn’t like feeling that way. Why should I torture myself? This morning I decided to “check it out,” as Jack Canfield calls it and find out what he REALLY meant by the comment.
“Why did you say I didn’t play tennis? Cause I sucked or the game sucked or something else? Just curious.” I texted my brother.
“It was doubles. Not singles. Nothing to do with you personally,” he answered immediately.
I took a deep breath, body relaxing. “OK, thanks,” I texted back. And that was the end of that. I no longer wished him ill and felt like a good and valued person again.
And then there was that other time……………..
“You should take up rowing,” a friend told me.
Immediately I wished him ill. He obviously thought I was fat and needed more exercise. My alter ego took over my “good” nature. “What a jerk!” I thought. “I never liked him anyway.”
But then, knowing myself and my sensitivity, I decided to check it out.
“Why did you tell me to take up rowing?” I asked.
“Because I like rowing and want more people to like it, too,” he answered.
“Oh,” I said, smiling, my “good” person returning immediately. “I thought it was because you thought I was fat,” I said.
We had a good laugh together. I really did think that. That’s what’s amazing.
Back to my friend calling me a good person today. I AM basically good. I want what’s best for people. I want them to have great lives. I like being friendly and caring.
I just forget. When I think someone is putting me down, I get scornful and it’s hard for me to get over it by myself sometimes.
But, as with my brother today who meant no harm at all, all I have to do is have the courage to “check it out”. And then return to “happy and good” when I find out my interpretation is completely WRONG.
Maybe one day I won’t have to “check it out,” but for now, I do. And I’m ok with that. It’s a technique and tool that works for me to create freedom.
What can you do when you feel ill will?
Thanks for listening.