In a recent post, I wrote of the delay between the beginning of a feeling or thought and our conscious awareness of it. Ironically, I was about to have that “realization-emerges-from-the-darkness” experience myself.
I was in a foul mood last week. Unfortunately, my hubby Rick was also in a bad mood. This led to some testy moments. As the evening wore on, we both retreated with a journal and began to write (one more connection with last week’s post). We both began tracking back through our day, trying to determine what triggered us. I knew I was upset with my cousin. But why? I didn't know. My anger was hot but I couldn't tell you the why of it. Finally, unable to determine a trigger, I thought, “We just don't get along, that's that.” I let my anger cool and had a satisfying end of the evening with Rick.
The next morning, while walking Sophie (my “aha” moments usually happen when I'm walking or taking a shower), I “suddenly” realized that I was angry about an email from my cousin. My message to him expressed some sadness and he had responded with several jokes. Click. That was it! The insight snapped into place. I had felt ridiculed. Now, what to do about it?
But first, a few other thoughts. Without this insight, I had no responsible course of action. I was angry--but why? Without a why, I could only be angry. Second, in the paragraph above, I put suddenly in quotes because I wanted to show that another part of me had known all along. Only the “I” of me, my ego-self, was out of the loop and suddenly understood. The rest of me already knew--and was reacting.
Now, what to do. My choices: do nothing or say something. I decided to let my cousin know that I had been expressing sadness in the email (maybe he didn't know this) and I wasn't happy with his response. This was, at least, the beginning of our dialogue. I still felt a lack of trust between us (based on our history) but I could at least share my perceptions with him. He could examine his reactions (or not). A true reconciliation could develop (or not). In this moment, I’m simply grateful I realized the message of my feelings.