Have you ever found yourself in the position of doing something less than loving?
I’m sure you haven’t – I’m sure you’re totally loving all the time.
But me? Not so much.
People who know me might be surprised by this comment, but it’s true. Oh sure, I may appear all nice and copasetic on the outside, but sometimes I’m grouchy on the inside.
My grouchiness usually takes the form of petty affront:
I can’t believe she just said that! I can’t believe he’s getting away with that!
You know – good old fashioned resentment.
I especially notice this resentment when I’m alone. Perhaps because I can hear my thoughts more clearly. Or perhaps because I’m alone with my internal baggage.
Whatever the case, the other day I happened to catch a ripe little resentment in reaction to an email.
Email is fertile soil for our unhealed wounding. There’s so much room for misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
Who hasn’t found themselves in the position of being offended by an email that, in the end, wasn’t meant to be offensive? And who hasn’t sent an email that someone interpreted to be wicked and cruel, when that wasn’t your intention at all?
In this case, I was writing an email to an acquaintance. I don’t know her very well, but I thought I remembered that she’s not a fan of lower-case emails.
You know what I’m talking about, right?
those emails that are written like this. because it’s just way too hard to press that shift button and capitalize the first letter of your sentence. either that, or you’re displaying your humbleness/low self-esteem by your choice of only modest, lower-case letters.
I have to admit: sometimes i’m a lower-case only kinda gal. it feels good. it feels like i’m playing hooky, or walking around barefoot. i feel wild and freaky and free.
But this person I was writing was not an admirer of lower-case ways. At least, I didn’t think she was. From what I remembered, she found it lazy. And improper.
I once got chewed out by a now-ex-friend for writing him an email in lower-case letters.
He was livid that I didn’t have enough respect for him to capitalize the first letters of my sentences. Luckily, I did have enough respect for myself not to keep him in the Friend category.
see ya later. seriously.
But back to my email. I wasn’t completely sure that this acquaintance hated lower-case livin’, but I was pretty sure she did.
which is why i was writing her an email in lower-case.
Yup, I’m naughty. It’s true.
Something about knowing that this person didn’t like lower-case expression made me want to use it even more. To assert my freedom and individuality. Or something like that.
I got as far as putting my finger on the “Send” button, when something made me stop.
What the heck was I doing? Why was I insisting on writing her in lower-case?
To prove a point? To show her she was wrong?
What was I hoping to accomplish?
What if she’d been someone I was in love with? What would I do then?
Well, I’d probably ensure that every aspect of the email would bring joy to my beloved. I wouldn’t be adding covert elements in attempt to annoy her.
And here’s the tricky part:
Everyone is my beloved.
Sometimes it’s hard to accept this. Especially when some portion of the beloved population is bringing me grief. But it’s true.
And here’s something else:
I’m more likely to perceive everyone as my beloved if I treat them as such.
So that’s what I did. I got out my typing fingers, and I went back and capitalized the first letter of each of my sentences.
I felt like I was addressing her with tenderness and care. I felt open and compassionate. And these were just capital letters, no big deal!
But it was a big deal.
I was moving past my resentment and making an effort to play nice. And it felt good.
For all I know, this acquaintance doesn’t really hate lower-case existence. Maybe she actually lets her hair down and takes a walk on the mild side every now and then. But that’s not the point.
I was behaving the best I could, given the information I had.
Isn’t that what it’s all about, in the end?
When have you caught yourself holding a resentment? And how did you move past it?