Yesterday I ate a slice of humble pie, while I was vacuuming and cleaning my house. I thought about my own attitude, and how that is the only thing I can control, and I recognized how easy it is for me to dig my heels in, think I'm right, and develop a hard heart toward people I find challenging. I think this is a natural human condition; it is why there is so much conflict and pain in our world.
We see our own side of the argument very clearly, and it stretches us to consider the other points of view and feelings involved in disagreements. While scrubbing my bathrooms I really tried to soften my heart, to recognize that where my attitude is brittle and hard, no new growth is possible.
I didn't enjoy the feeling of patching up the argument with the people involved, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I was mad, I told people why, and then with a good rest and the space of a few days, I could see where I needed to step forward and take responsibility, and offered apologies to the people I felt were owed one. It was an interesting process.
For a perfectionist like me, it used to be like pulling teeth for me to admit I was wrong, that I had spoken rashly and behaved badly. I used to hide from that truth because it was too blunt and raw to acknowledge to myself. I didn't grow very much personally in those days, and it's no wonder: you can't grow if you won't acknowledge your own limitations and frailties. It's remarkably freeing to recognize publicly that you make mistakes. It's nice not to have to hide from it anymore.
It's a good process to experience an event, get violently mad, tell people you are mad, and then make peace with the situation, offering apologies where they are required, and move on by putting the issue in the past. I like that I have no hard feelings associated with that issue anymore. I talked to someone last night about the other struggle I had earlier this year, and I was thrilled to find out that when I said, "I have no hard feelings; they did what they felt they had to do, and so did I," it was absolutely true.
I think that if you circumvent the process, you miss out on that closing peace. It's important not to jump ship when the going gets hard. Don't quit because someone is driving you up the wall. Stay the course, try to be kind (there's a Bible verse which says something like, "As far as it is possible, live at peace with everyone.") and let the experience teach you what it can. I knew yesterday that the soil of my heart was hard and I needed to let it soften up for springtime so new life could come from it. I don't want to be hard, cold and cynical. I want to grow and bloom and change. Eating a piece of humble pie was good for me, and so was the admission that I make mistakes, and that is how we grow.