Here’s a fun little game that I recently discovered I play all the time: I pretend to be a fortune-teller, predicting what someone is going to do in the immediate future. And what I predict they are going to do is infuriate me.
Step 4: made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
“20 bucks says this asshole needs to get two lanes over to make this exit.” “Watch the woman in the corner cubical look up when I get in this morning.” I call out my pet peeves, then sit back and wait for them to manifest themselves. And when they do, I win! And by win, I mean get angry and self-righteous and defensive. I get to bitch about things that I established long ago as being wrong.
I am literally calling out my insanities. They’re being bagged and tagged, then brought back to my isolation lab where I can truly go in-depth with my criticism. I question their reasoning, and foster a general dislike for them. These feelings I then carry over into all future interactions. It’s amazing how often these prophecies are fulfilled. “Ugh, they’re doing it again.”
For a while, I thought the appropriate course of action was pity. I learned to feel sorry for them. We’re both in our own private little hells, just different ones. Which seemed like a good way to go, until I started comparing hells. And if my hell was worse than their hell, I won again! I got to go back to anger and resentment, because they should be able to climb out of their holes; after all, they dug them, and they weren’t nearly as deep as mine.
What I wasn’t doing was identifying with them. It’s easier to write someone off than to attempt something like understanding. All of a sudden I’m in charge of what’s considered an appropriate response?
Today: Cut everyone, including myself, an equal amount of slack.