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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Yes, They Got Away With It. So?

Hey All - It's a Chilly Sunday in December.  Hope everyone's doing well.

One stumbling block to emotional maturity is Resentment, and it's slacker big brother, Grudges.  If there's one thought that can keep people angry and stuck, it's that feeling where someone else gets away with doing something wrong, knowing full well that punishment and consequences would be inevitable had we done the same thing.

Goodness knows I've felt angry seeing that happen.  Sometimes the teacher's pet/boss' favorite/coach's son gets protected when they make mistakes, or even worse, one of us takes the hit for it because it's always our fault, and never theirs, no matter what happens.  Unfortunately, this practice has been around since the dawn of time, and short of transforming the hearts and minds of the perpetrators, it will continue indefinitely.

Let's be honest.  It is frustrating to the extreme to have been raised with values, discipline, and lines we don't cross, and then seeing so many other people do the opposite of that and not suffer consequences for it.  It is disheartening to know that some authority figures consider someone else to be better than you, sometimes for no objective reason, and that nothing you do or say can change that.   And it's also that way when we remember how bullies of yesteryear, how nasty, abrasive, rude, and abusive they were, and yet they were mobbed with fraaaands and followers, instead of being isolated and despised.

It's that frustration with life "not being fair" that most triggers our dissatisfaction with this arrangement.  In a perfect world, there would be automatic consequences for these transgressions, hence no transgressions.  But for now, we do not live in a world where that happens.  Instead, for hopefully a limited time, we must adapt to this misfortune.

(1) Accept the decisions that action cannot be taken against.  If the only thing you can do in response to that which aggrieves you is to just be angry and criticize it, then you're wasting your time.  Yes, you can be angry and dissatisfied with it, but if that anger and dissatisfaction can never change the results, then it must be contained.  If it is not, then you risk harming yourself far more than you can ever impact them.  Our high-conflict neighbors still have no intention of owning their actions or improving their behavior.  Until they are compelled to do so, courtesy of Lady Kharma, we must accept that which we have no control over.

(2) If you are able to do something or say something about it, take the chance while you have it.  In my line of work, you have a 30 day deadline to appeal decisions that aggrieve your client.  In real life, the window of opportunity is sometimes smaller.  But if you have the chance, that's your time to make your arguments.  You may need to have supporting evidence to demonstrate why they're wrong and you're right, so have it ready to produce whenever someone else wants to ask questions designed to make you look stupid.  You may need to erect definitive boundaries against behavior you find objectionable while it is happening.  You may need to politely, but firmly, explain that you do not appreciate certain behaviors.

(3) Handle yourself with emotional intelligence, and not with emotional chaos.  When we're angered, triggered, or just plain annoyed, our heads are not on straight.  In that state, it's very easy to fudge the earlier two steps.  We can still remain calm even when telling someone else that their actions are unacceptable, or explaining why someone else's decision should be changed.  We can still respond to attacks designed to trigger us by not becoming triggered.  We can repel their attempts to get under our skin while still responding appropriately to their actions.

No, it's still not OK that people get away with actions that we, and they, know are wrong.  But simply bemoaning this fact and cursing their improperly-gotten gains does nothing to stop them.  Accepting what cannot be reversed, and reversing that what can be, however, are the best weapons we have.  And handling these weapons at the highest level of emotional maturity will ensure the best results possible.

That's The Jam, Folks.