I GOT CHECKED!

Oh, how awesome is life when days go by and you are unchallenged! Oh, how wonderful it is to be living a life of leisure and not encountering any problems! It is marvelous until a little hiccup stands in your way and makes you uneasy. All is well until the skies turn gray and heavy rain starts pouring. Like Mike Tyson said “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.

I thought I had made improvements. I sincerely thought I was better. I thought I was rocking the change I wanted to see. I thought it was done. I thought I had succeeded. Then, it happened.  3 people that I love the most on this earth reminded me that I am miles away from being better. They are responsible for this much needed wake-up call. Could I ever thank them enough? I don’t know, but I will try.

My people just stood there and talked to me. That was the hiccup. That is all that happened. There was no aggression in their speech or body language. They didn’t insult me, they didn’t make me feel unwanted, they didn’t make fun of me, they didn’t tell me I was inadequate, and they didn’t try to impose their thoughts or will on me. They just told me their opinion about a matter that is dear to me. They just used words and gestures that were reassuring and comforting. Yet, my reaction was far from being as classy as their actions and words were.

I still cannot explain it, but I know it isn’t the first time this happens! I just need to make sure it is the last time. I felt attacked and cornered even if there were no corners. We were standing in the streets for crying out loud! I felt compacted and overwhelmed. I could feel my heart rate go up and my feet couldn’t stop moving. The conversation was making me uncomfortable. One of them told me that I tend to react poorly when I am being criticized. Apparently, talking to me about sensitive subjects is a dangerous endeavour. And here I was, thinking that my progress was plain as day. Iron Mike was right; when you get punched in the mouth, even metaphorically speaking, well, it is as brutal as the real punch.

I was and still am bothered to be seen that way: as someone difficult to talk to. All my adult life, I have seen myself as this dude that can take criticism and not lose his cool. But Monday night, the belief went through a metaphorical window. How about that for a wake-up call? How about that for a humbling experience? This incident made me think and ask questions about myself. It shook me to my very core and I admit not sleeping much Monday night as I was dealing with my own shortcomings, which even took away my daily ritual. I ended up not writing at all. I was a bit tormented by my tasteless and classless reaction to my people talking to me. They just wanted to get my take on things and finally, they were just hoping we could talk peacefully as adults. But, I didn’t act much as an adult, more like a 5-year old throwing a mini-tantrum that was barely funny and overwhelmingly annoying.

I did apologize but my apology doesn’t solve much. I apologized because my behaviour was subpar, but out of a bad situation, good can flourish. There is always room for improvement, and even more room to not embarrass myself. I need the 3 people in my life, I need them to tell me things that others might be afraid to tell me. I need them to keep me in check, I need them to tell me when I fuck up. I do need them, more than they need me.

I also need to get better at taking criticism. I just want to end up being a better person. You cannot be a great communicator if you cannot listen to others. You will not be a pleasant person to be around if you stress every time someone points out you messed up. You cannot criticize others and get all defensive when someone points out your own vices or faults. You got to sit down and listen to others, especially those who love you. I know my people want nothing but my happiness and well being. Yet, I acted as if they were my sworn enemies, who had just killed my family and are coming to finish me off! By the way, I am not saying they were right. That is not the point. What I am trying to say is that I cannot and shouldn’t shut down people who just want to talk to me. I can disagree with them but not in the manner that I did. I can disagree, but I need to listen to them first. I cannot shut people out or down. I must listen and keep my cool. I can disagree and do so politely.

There is always room for improvement! No one is perfect and we all got a lot to learn, every day. I learned the hard way on Monday and I am glad. The worst that could have happened, was to stay stubborn and not see my own mess. It took 24h, a very long and hard day, but I got there. My people are outstanding, and I couldn’t be happier to have them in my life.

Finally, I couldn’t possibly preach improvement but act the opposite way. I couldn’t be that kind of a hypocrite or maybe I could, but I choose not to. Fuck it. I am human, and I am still looking for ways to make it work with myself. I got checked and I felt like an idiot because I was one. Now, where do I go from here? Back to the grind of getting better. It will be a long road, a road I will gladly walk. Being better isn’t just about words, it is also about action.  Never be afraid to look back at yourself and your faults. Look back and see what needs to be corrected. Find it, correct it and be better next time.

Just one man’s opinion…

Now smile and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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