Meme Crush Monday: Holding One’s Tongue


This week’s Meme Crush Monday is sponsored by no other than my favorite editor, Kweli.  She posted this a few weeks ago.  I saw it and told her I am going to write about this, somehow.  It’s only right that one of my first posts into this weekly venture comes from her.  I had been internally toying with the idea for some weeks.  When I told her about it, she said “Yes, you should do that!”

At first, I had nothing.  Then I saw the meme pop up again on my timeline…and a guy posted it.  So I figured as a guy who has more than his fair share of being on the receiving end of these moments and explain.

It feels as if I have been doing a substantial amount of writing about ego.  I’m okay with this.  Whether it’s being to prideful to apologize (because that means giving up leverage), admitting to a lie, suffering in silence, etc., ego is often involved in the death of interpersonal relationships.

With that said, dishing out these verbal lashings is all ego.  Someone’s feelings are hurt. There is a range of emotions that come before anger.  Anger is a quaternary emotion:  First there’s disappointment; which stems from someone we care about not living up to our expectations.  In time, people get frustrated because of a disappointing act.  By definition, resentment is the bitter indignation at having being treated unfairly aka whatever’s.  The irritation continues to bother and then people get pissed off.  The fifth and final emotion would be indifference.  By the time something is said, someone has been hurt for quite some time.  Their ego had been bruised and someone has been constantly pressing the contusion-it could be others or ourselves internally-causes one to erupt…bruising others’ ego.

Because someone is hurt, “going off” is an attempt to make themselves better.  Unconsciously, people want whomever offended them to feel just as hurt as they do.  The result is often futile.  Because by the time something is said, the hurt has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time.  Do you ever feel better after?  No.  Maybe temporarily; but you’re still angry.

The other side of this proverbial coin is that one should listen when their counterpart says something out of rage.  Whether it’s true or false, it’s how-or convince themselves-that’s how they feel.  They have felt backed into a corner, instinct kicks in, and they attack.  If shorty says in the midst of vexation “You’re a fat piece of shit,” they mean it…even if you’re 130 lbs soaking wet.

If-or when-you’re on the receiving end of the being told off: try your best to not take it personally.  To be angry means that someone is in an irrational state.  People are the summation of their life experiences.  Sometimes people say something that was a trigger that had absolutely nothing to do with you.  Easier said than done, especially when someone you love has embarrassed you and picked at that one childhood insecurity.  Nonetheless, try to keep it in mind.

Here’s the thing: once you let your tongue go, you’ve shown your hand.  You’ve given the most raw expression of how you really feel.  All leverage is lost.  You’ve doubled down and thrown in all your chips without knowing what or how the other person is thinking.  The person who is being told off now has all of the power.  Your ego is now at the mercy of someone else.

Every once in a while, I get affected by something someone says; however, that’s incredibly rare.  There was one defining moment in my relationship with Timile-my daughter’s mother-got to me and I decided I would never let that happen again.  She was five or six months pregnant and fed up with a bunch of things.  She called me fat when I had gained weight stress-eating somewhere between being torn between she and my family and that she was having a hard time eating.  For five days I told her I was fasting for spiritual reasons; but what she said had cut to the core.  Some months later we got into an argument and I told her how much that hurt and she felt terrible.  She couldn’t apologize for the statement because that was how she felt and wanted to hurt me; but she did ask to be forgiven for hurting my feelings.  Never again.

From then on, I made a choice to be minimally affected by people’s words.  Very rarely will I actually clap back.  For what?  It won’t make me feel any better hurting someone that I care about.  Rage and even hatred are indications that someone really cares about you–or me.  Indifference is the opposite of love.  Instead, I’ll let whomever to believe whatever they want.  About a year ago, I was dating this one girl for a couple of months.  I guess she had been feeling a way for a while and took it upon herself to go off.  Towards the end of a ten-minute rant of all of the things she didn’t like about me, she had the gall to say that I post about my daughter’s mother on social media to get attention (If you’re a new reader, she’s deceased).  I wasn’t hurt or angry…I was offended.  Five minutes later I was on the phone laughing about it.  I couldn’t take her statement seriously.  She couldn’t even pronounce Timile’s name correctly.  I write everyone off who pronounces it Tim-eele.

About a week later, we spoke.  The girl I was dating apologized for what she said and stated that she felt as if I wasn’t over Timile.  False; but I let her believe whatever she wanted to.  Her ego needed that.  The truth of the matter was that I wasn’t over my ex that I had stopped seeing maybe a week or two before we met and decided to let that fly under the radar.

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