recently i called my doctor to schedule an exam. my 12 month prescription was finished and they wouldn’t extend it one month, my pharmacist informed me. no problem. when i spoke with the person answering my call at the doctors office, her tone made me immediately defensive. she, somewhat aggressively, gave me what she seemed to consider facts that should cause me to feel guilt or shame. i replied that those ‘facts’ were erroneous and explained how i recalled the ‘facts’ about my previous visit. she, once having looked a bit closer at my file, conceded, although begrudgingly. smugly i told myself i had won the battle.
i hadn’t thought very much about it at the time, with the exception of the hot internal fire it stirred up inside my gut. those sorts of conversations occur from time to time in life. i let it go almost immediately, but looking back at it, days later, i realize that i reacted to her reaction. the tone in her voice left me uneasy. i blocked it with a quick, to the point response. but i didn’t like being accused of her idea of a crime that i didn’t commit.
i was treated, as a kid, with deeply negative judgment by my parents. i recall the tone in my mother’s voice. i remember being told, years ago, that i had that judgmental tone quite often toward the people i loved. i denied it then. it took me awhile to pull back and hear, objectively, what was coming from my mouth and mind. i wonder why it still pushes emotional buttons to hear it from someone else? i wonder why i didn’t know what it was immediately? i wonder why i was so surprised? why did i jump into defensiveness and reaction instead of compassion and non action? she could’ve been having a very difficult day, or maybe she was feeling ill, or had just experienced an unpleasant situation prior to my call. even if that’s her normal tone of voice, i could’ve responded differently.
a great spiritual teacher once said to love every living creature as if they were your mother. a nurturing, loving, caring mother. that includes an insect, a bird, an animal, a human being. if we cared for each other that way, kindness and peace would spread in an instant. next time someone responds with anger or aggression, i can respond with love and kindness. i can learn from these experiences and not beat myself up about them. having love and kindness toward myself is the beginning of sharing it with others. how cool is that? i get to be nice to me so i can be nice to you. i could grow to like this. how about you?