A Fascinating and Humbling Realization: Maybe I'm the Asshole
It's 3:30 pm on a Friday and I'm irate. Seething, I reread the email from my coworker again, thinking I must be missing something. How could this individual not have accomplished this task? He's had the whole week. And if he wasn't going to get it done, why is he waiting until 3:30 pm on a Friday to tell me it isn't going to happen? A slew of words are running through my head; the vast majority of which are unrepeatable and aren't longer than four letters. I send what can only be described a shitty reply and continue to stew on this grievance for the rest of the workday.
Later, I tell my wife about the "epic dingleberry" who didn't get their work done, setting my sales efforts back for the next week. She, with her own stresses and problems, feigns disgust as best she can, but I can tell she'd rather talk about anything else. With no one to commiserate with, I pick up my yoga rug and head to a Restorative class. Basically, Restorative yoga is all about relaxing and chilling out, which is what I really want to do so I can forget about Neanderthal Ned's eff-up.
I'm laying down, lights are out, and we're listing to stereotypical yoga music; chanting, singing in tongues, the whole nine yards. Blood still boiling, the yoga teacher says, completely nonchalantly, "Accept that you don't know everything. In fact, you know next to nothing."
Bullshit, I think. I have a college degree and I read The New Yorker.
She continues, "Consider your neighbor. You think you know everything about them, but do you know how their family is doing? Do you know if they're healthy? Have they suffered a loss?"
I follow them on Instagram. They seem ok, I think, after considering and then quickly dismissing her point.
"You may have the perception of happiness, health, and prosperity. But have you asked them how they've been lately? Have you practiced empathy?"
At this point, my feud (a very one-sided feud, existing entirely in my head) immediately comes back into my thoughts. Shit, I think. I don't know why he didn't get that done. He could have been sick, or his wife was sick, or his dog died. I have no idea why it didn't get done, more importantly, I hadn't even bothered to ask why or if there was something I could have done to help. Then, I thought, if there was something like a sickness or a death, this individual didn't feel comfortable enough to tell me - what could that say about me and how I treat others?
"Before you can forgive others, you need to forgive yourself."
"Stop being a dick," I command myself, while still Zenned out on my yoga mat. That's the best forgiveness I could give myself, as ashamed of myself as I was.
I left class with a new daily intention. I'm not going to be an asshole anymore. I'm going to practice empathy. I'm going to hold back judgment; after all, I don't know what people are going through. I have no idea what's going on at home. Before reacting with excessive amounts of hostility, I'm going tell myself to chill out, back off, and offer solutions rather simply add to the problem. Maybe if we all asked ourselves, "Am I being an asshole right now?" the world would be a better place.
Wes does sales and marketing for VP Demand Creation Services. Sign up for a newsletter that goes out sometimes for more posts like this. He's also on Instagram and Twitter. He's writing this right now in the third-person. What an asshole thing to do, right?