Friday, March 24, 2017

Learning from Others' Mistakes

Well it's been a pretty hard week.  I have been trying to get some things done and it seems the devil has tried to throw quite a few arrows in my direction - from at least two corners of my world.  Still I was able to keep focus to finish projects, tasks, errands and keep focused on the goal.

I have spent some time though trying to figure out folks around me and figure out what their thoughts are, what makes them tick, what makes them say and do the hurtful things that they can sometimes.  I finally decided that it really all has to do with perception, and the lack of people being able to really understand one another.

I finally decided that you can't change your personality just to please someone else.  And while you can put a filter on your mouth or try to spin things in rose colored or dark colored glasses, as you wish, that even doing so is probably not going to matter anyway in the long run.  You have to be you.  Either people will understand you or not ---or like you ---or not.

It's sad when you discover someone you thought highly of, doesn't really like you, or understand you as you had thought.  Even sadder when they talk to others about you or make public comments that even you will see and know without a doubt it's you they are referring to.  And ALL of us ARE guilty of that whether we want to admit it or not.

One would be inhuman not to be sad when that happens.  As for me, these types of things that hurt my feelings usually take about 24 to 48 hours to get over, analyze, accept, and deal with.  I try to take each thing like this in life and learn from it.  I have to analyze it, sleep on it, internalize it.  Sometimes get others opinions, and talk to God about it - not necessarily in all that order, but it takes about 24 to 48 to get through the process.

My heart is very sensitive and my defense mechanism is to be defensive. But having had some experience in life after 50 years, some of my defensiveness has gone away, and more of an acceptance has set in.

 My weapons against life to protect myself is to complain about something til it gets better and gets fixed, and to check and double check things around me so that nothing goes wrong that I have to deal with the next day or some day after.  My goal in life has always been for everything to be perfect, to go smoothly every day, every where, every angle, with every person, meeting goals getting things done - anywhere I am on this earth.  In doing so there are series of lists, checklists, so that I will not forget to do anything.  I often forget to do things and I overcompensate with checklists as a reminder, alarms on my phone, reminders on my calendar, notes and so forth in every aspect in my life.

This has absolutely nothing to do with how I feel of anyone else's competency or lack of - it has everything to do with me and accomplishing my goal.  For example, George asked me to get dog food last night while I was out trying to find a cute big container for the pasta I'm making.  I was on a mission and I didn't write it down.  It was only two items I was going for right? But my plan for 3 days now was to go get the container for pasta salad.  Only in the minutes before while at the nail salon, did George ask me to get the dog food.  I made a mental note, as the lady sat down to begin working on my nails, and then after an hour or so I went to Walmart and got my container(s) and walked out.  Did I get dog food?  No I didn't.  The mental note got crowded out by other thoughts and I did what I had planned to do for last 3 days --get the pasta container -- and totally blocked out getting the dog food that was a last minute request.  I am faulty. My own worst enemy. I didn't write it down.  I didn't have time to make it stick in my memory.  Life is too hurried and detailed to remember everything.  That might be easy for another person, but me, on a mission, lost in my own thoughts - way too many of them.  NO.  I didn't remember something so simple.

So I'm not perfect and the realization of that, leads me to believe that others are not either. Even if I'm wrong, that is what I think. Why do we often think that others think like we do? But we do. And so if I ask another person to do something that is on my agenda, I don't always expect that they will remember if they are like me.  And sometimes I have a double check in place for that.  For example, if I'm having a dinner party and I need an appetizer or dessert - I might ask two people to bring them in case one can't come or forgets and does something different on a whim.  What does it hurt to have a Plan B?   Especially when how many times in ones life has Plan A failed.  Oh Lord, let us count the ways! Life has taught me the necessity of Plan B's.  And I don't see the value in not having a plan B in my world at least.

However, I'm afraid that my having a plan A and B, must make others think that I think they are stupid if they are involved in a team effort and I have them subjected to both a Plan A and B.   As I'm typing all this I'm thinking:   Am I really even having to having to analyze all this. Really?  But writing all this out helps me understand things and helps me in getting along with others.
As I think through this, I still cannot fathom that I should NOT have Plan B's just b/c it makes someone feel that I think they are stupid.  I have decided that is probably something they should analyze about themselves and "get over it".

What I've determined is this "perception" thing.  When one person does or says anything, the other tries to make something of it as if it is a purely calculated and overly orchestrated manipulation attempt against you.

For example, George sets a fork out every night on the table or coffee table.  He has done this about 75% of the time in the last year or so.  (He will say "years", I don't think so.)  Most of our marriage, we both got our plate and fixed our food from the stove and reached in to get a fork before going to the coffee table where we would watch a show together.  So I cannot get used to NOT grabbing a fork from the drawer.  He's thinking ahead.  I'm running on auto pilot.  But it hurts his feelings for some reason that I don't accept or acknowledge that he has been efficient and already has the fork out.  He thinks there is something going on in my head I guess that I think he's not efficient (I'm not really sure what he thinks) but he is thinking something that makes him feel offended if I reach for a fork when there is already one on the table.  It irritates him so bad that he grits his teeth (it sounds like it anyway) when he says "it's already on the table- how many times do I have to tell you this?".  And yes, we did have a conversation about THAT b/c I am not going to have anyone get mad at me or raise their voice at me because I innocently reach for a fork.  I will not live on egg shells that way.  Of course that led into all the things that I do wrong and match back and forth of all the irritations we have had for each other in the past 25 years.  Geez don't you hate it when that happens, over a dog danged fork?

All it was, was his perception of me.  I wasn't thinking anything at all but it was offending him regardless.  And it shouldn't have been.

Anyway, my week has been like that.  With so much I'm trying to juggle in every facet of my life and just dealing with arrows the devil is throwing, trying to analyze them, feeling hurt, disappointed, trying to figure out what I did wrong, and mostly trying to decide how to handle.  In some cases I've handled it head on letting people know how I want to be treated, in other cases, I've acted like nothing was wrong although I'm hurting inside still but it's fading.  I know it will not ever go away unless it is addressed, but I'm still pondering that instance.  I'm not even sure the person knows that I know what I know that hurt me.  Perhaps they realize their own error in thinking.  But the damage is done.  I always have a hard time forgiving a wrong in which there is no apology.  But I'm trying.   I'm trying to understand that we all have perceptions of one another and I'm understanding that one bases that on how they think themselves.  So if someone perceives you wrongly, it is simply a projection of themselves.  And it ends up being about them and not you.  Just because someone perceives you a certain way it doesn't mean you are that way.  No one knows your thoughts.

So from that angle, I'm trying to forgive.  And that is why I VERY much like the "7 Rules of Life" posted above.  All of them are important.  And particularly #6.   When you realize that ultimately, that in life, no one else gets to choose your happiness, you can move on, and forget it.  I choose.  George may not understand me when I reach for a fork, and others may not understand me when ___________fill in the blank.  But really, their thoughts are theirs, and yours is yours, and what we perceive of another may or may not be right, and it may or may not be appropriate to blast toward others a statement of those perceptions, but when the day is come and gone and went and done, what is really left is this...I'm still me, and regardless of what someone thinks of me, right or wrong, I'm me.  Probably not going to change how I am and if I do it will only be on the surface as to how I choose to talk or react.  But I'm still me.  Those that like it can embrace it, those that don't can either endure it, or move on.

There are people in my life that I choose not to be around much b/c of the way they do make me feel.  Whether my perception or reality.  We all have to live with that.  We don't all groove well with certain personas.  And that is ok.  We can be civil and handle how we react to things.

But all in all, we can choose to override it and not let another person determine our happiness.  So happiness wins.  When people apologize it makes it easier but in today's world that often doesn't happen due to pride.  So what can you do?  Just choose to be yourself and not let anyone determine your happy meter, regardless of how disappointed you are in the other person.

So the last couple of days I've not blogged b/c of being busy and then all of "THAT" b/c I had to get my head around a few things and think about some things and get a perspective on it so that I didn't react in my anger, disappointment, and confusion.

And that said, I've got a pasta salad to make for 32 people (8 cancelled).  So I'm on it!  From the looks of the ingredients from the shopping cart, I'm gonna need a cow trough to get it there. Ya'll have a great day.


  1. So true that none of us are perfect and communication is often a big problem. Everyone does have their own perceptions of what they see as right or wrong. How we take what happens is our choice, and happiness is always an inside job. It's all about making a choice. I try to take each day as it comes and find the bright side of each one and to be thankful for it.

  2. I am sorry Sonya. Some often are harsh or mean for no reason. I will never understand it. I often just ignore that kind of person but it is hard. You stay so busy I don't know how you go all that you do. That is so nice your helping the friend with the pasta salad. I hope you post pictures and the recipe. It looks like we are going to have a pretty weekend. I want you to do something nice for yourself. Something you enjoy.

  3. I love the 7 Rules of Life you listed. I particularly believe and like numbers 4 & 5. Worrying never gets us anywhere but treading water it's true. I've been with my husband almost 40 years and only now learning some things about him and him doing the same with me. some days it's like walking a tightrope.

  4. I take everything personally, every thing. I'm the "I'm sorry" women. Constantly. It drives my husband nuts because even if its not my fault, problem I will take the blame and be the one who comes forward and apologize. I'm getting better in my later years. Trying to let things go.. slide off my shoulders, not always easy.

    The weekend is here, enjoy!

  5. Sometimes I think if only everyone 'thought' like I did that life would be so much easier. But then, they wouldn't be them and life would be boring. Different strokes for different folks. That's the way we are made. Can't change that.


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