Did you spend any time this holiday with any negative people? Are you related to any of them? Do you think your mood affected them? Did their perspective affect theirs? We’re often influenced by our environment, while at the same time we “are” the environment of others. The point of this article has nothing to do with religion. It’s about people.
During one of our holiday gatherings, I found myself in a fun & healthy conversation with a fellow Catholic I’ll call, Mr. Jovial. He was having fun and in a good mood, when someone mentioned how the church was packed on Christmas with people who never usually attend. They’re sometimes referred to as Christmas and Easter Only or Chr-easters.
Mr. Jovial’s happy mood quickly went sour, and he began ranting, “Where are they the rest of the year?” Ouch! I got up and left the conversation.
It bothers me when people who attend church, think that going on a regular basis makes them more religious. People who are “Christians” are not supposed to be “judging” others. That’s exactly what Mr. Jovial was doing. Many family members who come from out of town for the holiday are not there the rest of the year. We also don’t know everyone’s story and personal journey. So it’s important to be careful when we make assumptions.
I wasn’t happy and I walked away upset. I didn’t want to be part of that conversation. Though usually quiet, I was afraid of what I might have said. When I get upset, I can tend to be brutally honest… then the thought hit me.
“Crap!” (Sorry, but that was my honest thought.) I usually don’t talk like that in my articles, but it seems appropriate this time. I realized that I was judging Mr. Jovial for judging others! I was no better than him in this situation. I suppose many of us are hypocrites at times. Have you ever been? Ever caught yourself that way? Let me know on my blog if you’re willing to admit it.
When I realized my own error, a peaceful feeling came over me. I learned my lesson, I let go of my frustration, and just smiled. Our thoughts can give a different filter in which to see our own environment.
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Great and insightful comments! Catching ourselves in an effort to improve us is more effective and useful than catching or finding fault with others. Love it.
I reluctantly admit I’ve been a close spiritual cosine to Mr. Jovial to many times. I also catch myself at the point of infraction or later in the day during my time for reflection. The problem still continues for me but less and less. I might add I am caught in my arrogance when at times I think I’m talking to myself but I’m actually verbalizing my thoughts i.e. how to drive a car, fill the dishwasher, discipline children. Luckily there are members of my family who are quick to remind me that mine is not the only way to think.
Thank you. Once again you are so timely. I will be giving a speech to my TM club on the 25th. The topic is “Flexible Thinking” – Being open to others ideas when problem solving and in everyday life. This reflection will be perfect to include and personalize my presentation. Your final comment – “Our thoughts can give a different filter in which to see our own environment” is the bases for the entirety of my speech. Let me add to the comment – not only a different filter but sometimes a squid filter.
Happy New Year, Darren.
To answer the direct question “Ever caught yourself that way?” – YES OH YES OH YES.
My big change came last year when my mother died. There were certain things I needed to do in order to get through that very emotional week. I realized that some people were doing things that irked me to no end. Then I realized that if I needed to do certain things, they probably did as well. It was much easier once I came to this conclusion – Let it go, let them do what they need to do, do what I need to do — Not an easy week, but certainly easier than I at first anticipated.
I’ve carried that philosophy into different areas of my life. Although I sometimes slip or struggle with it, when I remember to live like that, it makes for less stress and more acceptance – most people could use more of both.
Thanks for the great reminder. May 2012 bring health and happiness, joy and laughter.
It all comes under the title of “Granting Beingness” You grant (let) someone else be whatever he/she is being at the moment. Doesn’t mean that you agree or participate in anyway with that Beingness, but that one is not fighting it either. According to L. Ron Hubbard it is more important to be able to “Grant Beingness” that Be. Probably because wars as well as family conflicts come about because someone was unable to let another just Be. Have a good year Darren and continue to Be you.
Actually, the acronym for those who attend irregularly is CEO (“Christmas-Easter only”). And yes, as an element of our humanness, we are all hypocrites. It is only through the introspective process, as you engaged in during your interaction with Joyial, that such hypocrisy is revealed. We all lose sight of the truth that Jesus actually came to set humanity free from religion & the attendant inclination to judge the motives of others. The focus is to be on a relationship with Him and a love for our fellow man.
I enjoy your blogs. Keep up the good work.
Good catch D! Yes I catch myself this way too.
Through reflection you got some of the growth oppty that was there. Sharing it here makes it available to us all in another way. Thanks for that too.
Asking us to testify takes it a step further, which is also cool.
Perhaps there is a way, going fwd, to join the conversation when it happens, bringing this awareness with you, so that others in the family,and the group as a whole experience the same oppty differently.
Nice start for 2012!
WOW Darren!! You hit the bullseye on that one!
After a contentious family occasion, realizing I DIDN’T walk away when I should’ve, and now am stuck with a mess that lingers, despite all remedial efforts, my big question is: What to do after you’ve said you’re sorry?
Can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.
Ever alert to my own hypocricy, I’m sending myself to Coventry until the year 2015!
Messages to Dante’s outer Circle.
I really liked this article. I’ve done that and still do it not realizing i’m doing it. One of the hardest things to do is to have the courage to allow another to be themselves even if it is negative. I’ve learned that there must be something wrong with me and my inner confidence if I allow someone’s negativity to affects how I feel on the inside of me. Like you said darren I make up others environment even those who are negative so I should be able to affect their environment consciously the way they affect mine unconsciously. The problem i’ve delt with is being conscious enough to respond to situations like this instead of allowing myself to unconsciously reacting and allow others to influence me instead of allow the power of the positive attitude in me to influence them. Nothing good happens without the proper intentions. That’s the message from your question on the back of your connect card. What is your intent? Love that card.
Humor is a great way to defuse tension, not only between a group of people, but, also, within an individual. As a devout Catholic myself, I’ve been a part of conversations like the one you describe. Instead of letting things blossom out of control or changing my mood, I like to share a story about what the priest of my church did to take care of a squirrel family which moved into the attic. As you know, squirrels are very hard to get rid of and after Squirrel-Be-Gone, pesticides and exterminators didn’t work, he realized the answer was in front of him the whole time. One night the priest climbed into the church’s attic and baptized the squirrels. Now he only sees those pests on Christmas and Easter.
Yes I have been one of those. NOT in a huge way, just a minor way. More that I was often upset with people that have stolen from me, treated me poorly, taken advantage of me, or did the whole “talk CRAP” (haha) about me behind my back while they smile at me and act like they love me dearly! Well, I have worked really hard and it is a work in progress, BUT I am finally getting to the point where I can look at someone that has done me wrong, and say “they are coming from….” and realize I don’t need to be so upset any more. Yeah. You hit that nail on the head! (OUCH) Excellent!!! Thanks!
There’s this concept that everything we see is imitated by the mirror cells in our brain. BUT if we SELF ANALYZE/self observe and realize that everyone’s opinion is simply that then being around this preachy preacher wouldn’t affect or effect who we are.
Damage won’t be done.
I also wanted to state that I like reading your articles, some of them contribute to my music, insight, and advance how I present myself to others.
You may or may not read this so let’s assume that you are,
Thanks for your sharing of information Darren La Croix