Behaving Badly

“It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

How often have we said something like this to ourselves after behaving badly or doing or saying something unwise or unkind?  Afterward we replay the scene or the conversation and we think “I could have done that better” or “I didn’t handle that the best way I could have or would have under different circumstances.”   We’ve all been there.

Circumstances aren’t always ideal for us to always be our best selves – but that’s when we’re supposed to be our most vigilant.  Maybe we were provoked by a sensitive subject or someone who knows our “buttons.”  Then, before we know it, we have gone to the “dark side” realizing too late how quickly and easily we can.

While there wasn’t any real harm done to another – the situation might not necessarily call for an apology or some kind of restitution – ease, forgiveness and resolution with ourselves is probably in order.   That process brings us to the self-promise of being more aware and thoughtful next time  – because there will always be a “next time.”

Replaying the pain, embarrassment or thoughtlessness of the experience doesn’t help – it only leads to distress, disappointment and self-recrimination, none of which takes us to a higher place.   What does help is first extending silent gratitude to the person or situation for allowing us to see our shortcoming, then understanding – not justifying – the reaction to the provocation.   We then extend kindness to ourselves the way we would if we were helping another going through the same process.

A wise man once said “The best way to put anything behind us is to go through it.” This “going through” can be painful and slow – but evolving often is.  Once we come out on the other side – and we will come out on the other side – we can look back and say with a deep exhale “Thank you.  I’m bigger now, stronger now.”


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“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson