Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Self Control (or lack thereof)


I have heard myself described as outspoken. I will definitely agree with that assessment to a certain degree. But I also believe you can be outspoken without being a loud mouthed jerk, and hopefully I’m able to pull that off most of the time.

Believe it or not, despite my tendency towards sarcasm and outright snarkiness, there’s not much that hurts me more than knowing I’ve hurt someone else, even if it is unintentional.

Such was the case last week. I won’t go into specifics. Basically what happened is a friend sent me a link via twitter, I went to the site she linked and then immediately sent a very snarky tweet back to the friend who sent it to me. It was meant completely in jest, but had I exercised some self-control and put myself in the other person’s shoes, I would have realized how incredibly rude and insensitive I had been. The worst part? I didn’t realize I had hurt her feelings until I read a tweet she sent to another friend about it hours later.

What I wanted to do is find a dark hole, crawl inside and hide. What I did instead was send my friend several DM apologizing for being such a calloused jerk, to which she gracefully responded that she was being oversensitive. All the while this conversation is going on, I was also having a DM conversation with my other friend who was assuring me that everyone makes mistakes, and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. (This friend puts the "awe" in awesome, and I am so blessed to have her as a friend. There I was telling her what a jerk I was, and she's trying to make me feel better.)

I’m going to be honest. This still bothers me. It still makes me cringe. Not because my friend hasn’t forgiven me, because she told me she has and I believe her.

It bothers me because I realize that the cruelty and insensitivity I despise so much in others is within me as well.

It’s a painful reminder of what a wretch I truly am, and just much I am in need of a Savior.

NOTE: This is not one of those posts where I tell you all how wretched I am in the hopes you will tell me that I'm not. I'm not looking for vindication or praise. I'm just trying to write honestly.

***

This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Self-Control, hosted by my friend Bridget Chumbley. Be sure to check out some of the other posts. You won't be disappointed.

30 comments:

Glynn said...

It's in all of us, Kathy. On the one hand, we hate it. On the other, it means we're human being in need of God.

♥ Kathy said...

We all stick our foot in our mouth once in a while. I know I have more than once. Luckily you have a great friend that forgives you when you do that kind of stuff ♥

Shark Bait said...

Okay. I won't tell you what a good person you are, or try and make you feel better.

I will however say that I know how you feel, and that one of my biggest fears is hurting other people, because I know how easy it is for me. I actually have a post written about it somewhere, which I might be brave enough to post one day.

So thanks for letting me know I am not the only wretched, callous, jerk out there.

<-SB><

Deb said...

Your honesty is refreshing. We all have that stuff in us... and I think that recognising it in the first place is the first step on the path to getting rid of it. Thanks for sharing... :)

Russell Holloway said...

I once told a rather hairy friend of mine that he should take of his sweater before jumping in the swimming pool ... The ten or so people listening did not laugh, neither did he ... I've been in that cave you are talking about.

Cassandra Frear said...

We all have our issues. I have mine, too.

This has been a great comfort to me:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

I especially like the cleansing part.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Ah Kat, who hasn't been there? The gift is, we have the self-control to not go back again and again, when we use our learning to create more compassion in today.

The fact you feel the hurt of another means you're a loving human being -- ok, so that's not me telling you you're okay, okay?

(but you are okay -- better than okay actually!)

Good post.

Marilyn Yocum said...

Sympathizing. AND appreciate your honesty. I'm jumping to the conclusion that I will encounter a ripe opportunity to do this today and your words have gone ahead to flag me down. Thank you for that! The boo-boo from these things tends to linger long with me. (IOW, I have a hard time moving on from having done it.) I hope for you it is speedier.

Billy Coffey said...

If I had a nickel for every time I put my foot in my mouth, I wouldn't have to be sitting here at work cussing someone under my breath right now.

So glad I'm forgiven for being me.

Fatha Frank said...

There aren't enough Megs on the Internet to hold a post of all my regrets. We've all been there. I want that shirt BTW

Helen said...

I bit off the head (so to speak) of a friend in college. I twisted my ankle, and she teased me and called me Gimpy. I was not in the mood and told her to go to...(rhymes with bell). I apologized later. She would not forgive me. Twenty years later, it still hurts me that I hurt her.
I am trying to make the same point that others here have. You are not alone. At least in your case, it was good natured humor gone overboard. Knowing you, I'm SURE it was meant to be good natured teasing. You did NOT set out to hurt someone, and succeed.

I promise that if you ever call me Gimpy, I'll be nicer about it now than I was to D., then...

jasonS said...

All we can do is learn from these times and amazingly, just as you've shared here, it can be a teaching moment for others so they don't have to experience it. I love how God will bring these things together. :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

We all make mistakes. You appologized. You're forgiven. you're given another chance. Sounds like you need to sing a few verses of "Amazing Grace" how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, and you.

Janet Lyn said...

Kathy, I can relate to what you wrote more than I care to admit. Yet here I am admitting it for all the world to see.
I have been bold and outspoken my entire life and I don't see that changing. Nor would I want to change that part of me. I believe God gave me that boldness to speak out against evil and to stand up for social justice and to fiercely defend those who need defending in this world.
But I am, with the grace of God and the love and kindness of my closest friends, constantly working on a balance in there somewhere. Which is why I love the photo of the T-shirt with your post. It reminds me of a saying I saw once that said, "Never miss a good opportunity to shut up." I try ~and often fail~ to remember that. Sigh.
As one of my sweetest friends often reminds me, "We are all works in progress." I always smile and sigh when I think of his kind words to me. Hope it helps for you, too.
We are all works in progress, my friend.

Maureen said...

This is a very thoughtful post, Kathy.

In various interpretations of the Bible, the word "temperance" is used in lieu of "self-control", and I think it's interesting to read that word into this post. Where the meaning of "temperance" can be accepted as "moderating" or "softening", then it doesn't fully equate to the sense of holding back, or restraining, from doing or from being (as in being emotional), which is what "self-control" connotes for most people.

Heather Sunseri said...

What a beatiful and honest post! And one I can relate to. I, too, hate the thought of another person being hurt by my words. Even misunderstandings can hurt. I'm glad you had the opportunity to clear the air with your friend.

JC Dude said...

Kathy, man...Have I ever been there! Thanks for being honest and sharing your heart.

Peace,
Jay

Duane Scott said...

There have been times when I'm DMing you or @ing you that my joke came off a bit snarky.

Now I'm really bothered, and will send a series of apologetic tweets @ you in hopes of making myself feel better.

That's me. I walk into a room mouth first. You can always hear me before you see me.

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

Well, I for one think you're a jerk.

Unlike me in my softspoken perfectionness.

Rich Dixon said...

I thought I was the champion of hurtful sarcasm.

Funny's good, but you're right that it's important to think before we speak.

Thank God for grace, from Him and His people.

Kevin said...

Thanks for your honesty Kathy!

Sandra Heska King said...

Hmmm . . . I think the things I dislike most in others are often the faults I find in myself.

And then I think of David, who messed up really bad(ly) even though he was a man after God's own heart.

I love your honesty!

Laura said...

It sounds like you have some pretty cool friends. Live and learn, I always say. The online communications lend themselves to these types of things, I fear. But I"m glad your friend has forgiven.

Now to forgive self...

Bridget Chumbley said...

I often snark... then think. I do believe that you have an awesome talent for being fun and not abrasive.

We've all been in that spot where we feel terrible that someone was hurt unintentionally... but it happens.

Thanks for the honesty, Kathy.

bman said...

Good thing you're not looking for validation... er... um...

haha. Just kidding. This was a good post, and like EVERYONE else said, we all have the ability to be a mean jerk sometimes without knowing it. It's inherent in being the sarcastic friend in your circle.

But, you know, with some thought (which I generally avoid like the plague) it can mostly be avoided. Some people are stronger than others. Some people are more sensitive and need nicer jokes. :)

Graceful said...

Oh I can so relate to this Kathy! I am blurter, and it's gotten me into hot water more times than I can count. I wrote my self-control post on the tendency to blurt, too. And I also wrote one awhile back about something I wrote on my blog about MY PASTOR, of all people -- not super snarky, but critical for sure. I ended up calling him to apologize, and it was the THE most awkward conversation ever, and he ended up reassuring me, and that conversation ended up being all about me (sort of like this comment), and well, you know how it goes.

But my point, really, is to say I understand. And you wrote about it so well, and so truthfully and rawly (is that a word?) and honestly. And I appreciate that!

Monica Sharman said...

And I wonder what I would do without the ones who gracefully respond to me?

caryjo said...

My heart [and mouth] fit right in here. That's one reason I avoid FB, don't do Twitter, etc. It's too easy to make a comment and mistake or have my tone of voice misunderstood, and on and on. So... your example is very, very real.

JML said...

Sounds like you suck. I do too, though. I wish I could tell you the story of my most recent experience, it's BLOODY AWFUL, but not anything I can even blog about because all the parties involved.... read it. Way to share with us though, it's nice to know we aren't the only ones that make these mistakes.

Thank God He still loves us, right?

Jake said...

and I started that one the way I did because of your comment at the end. So I hope it wasn't super rude, not even being funny at this point. You know I think the world of you Kathy!!!!!!!