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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Grudges -- Too Expensive!

Good Evening, Gentlemen!

Hope I didn't interrupt your Emmy Awards, or the Eagles/Falcons game for those of you in the Philly/South Jersey area.  Just talking about the generally unprofitable act of holding onto hate, resentment, anger, or unfinished business.

This is something yours truly has been guilty of most of his life.  So who better to tell you all about how much it hurts to keep it happening!

I've had records of holding onto grudges for as long as 10 years, depending on what happened that burnt my biscuits.  Insults, slights, etc. had ways of leaving marks on me that just wouldn't go away . . . in no small part because I wasn't actually trying to make them go away.  Not only do anger, rage, fury, and hate give us a rush, they also make us too comfortable.  As long as we have gripes and issues with other people, we can be less responsible.  We can point fat fingers at these other people (or our perceptions of them), and say that it's their fault, and ALL their fault, so we shouldn't have to do anything about it, no matter how long ago it happened!

Nice try fella.

I've instituted a rule that rejects that attitude whole-heartedly -- the 24-hour statute of limitations.  For those of us outside the legal profession, let me explain.  A statute of limitations is a law stating that civil lawsuits and criminal charges must be commenced in Court within a certain number of years after the alleged wrongdoing took place, otherwise the claim is barred.  For example, let's say you want to sue someone in New York for the neck and back injuries you sustained in that fender-bender -- better make sure suit is filed within three years after the date it happened, or you're done for!  File it too late, your lawsuit will most likely get what my sister used to call, "dissed and dismissed!"  Or at least, your attorney will get dissed, with a malpractice lawsuit and a call from the Grievance Committee!  DA's, you better make sure that perp gets arrested and processed within two years of the date he gave himself a five-finger discount from Duane Reade -- otherwise he's gone!

By comparison, I'm giving myself a 24-hour statute of limitations.  If someone wrongs me, be they family or co-worker, or even someone at the next table, if I don't bring it to their attention that they've done something wrong, I waive my claim.  So if I don't bring it up right then and there, it disappears.  No stewing, no post-morteming, no woulda/coulda/shoulda either (that's annoying)!  Move on, case closed, next case!

But I'm not going to be so selfish to only use it on myself.  It also applies to any wrongs that others think that I have committed.  Have I spoken out of turn?  Did I trample on some inside joke or family secret that I wasn't "allowed" to make light of?  Did I not show sufficient gratitude when I said "thank you" only once when a full genuflecting was required?  Or better yet, did I permit the faux pas of announcing that a certain self-appointed emperor or empress has no new clothes to speak of (and the ones he or she does have went out of style in the Nixon years?)

You got 24 hours on your claim with me.  And that means you tell me, and ONLY me.  Not an intermediary, not a friend, not a relative, but ME and ONLY me.  Not in a confrontational, biting, jabbing manner, either, because you forfeit any right to redress or restitution when you run your mouth.  If I am not told, within 24 hours of my transgression, that I have harmed anyone, my obligation to apologize, feel guilty, or take responsibility for such alleged action disappears.

You can e-mail me, Facebook me, Twitter me, call me, or even talk to me face-to-face.  I won't have an eager-beaver tone in my voice when I respond, I admit, but if I'm advised of my misstep timely and respectfully, I will take responsibility.

Or better yet, gee, I don't know . . . how about commenting?  Space right down here is reserved for just that purpose -- let's have at it!

By applying this cost-cutting measure, gentlemen, you've cut the fat from your portfolio.  You've sold your dog stocks before they really went downhill, and you've "scrimped and saved" your thoughts!  Now without holding onto resentment until infinity, you can deal with problems when they arrive, or possibly first thing the next day, and NOT when someone else is ill-prepared to deal with your complaining!

More importantly, it is the best defense in your arsenal against those who air dirty laundry, scrape open old wounds, and do everything in your power to cut you down when you're on the right track to success.  You Exist, You Matter, You Belong, and You Deserve -- and that means you don't have to get brought down by untimely claims!  If someone feels like bringing up an old gripe, or even an embarrassing story from days gone by, shut them down!  If they couldn't be bothered to bring this up when it was happening, them they get NO relief from it NOW!

For a specific example of what I'm talking about, read the entry entitled "The Fast He Wanted" on my New Day blog, published September 19, 2010.

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