You’re Not Pretty Enough To Be That Mean

When those words were spoken to me by a teacher of mine that I truly respect, they pierced my soul like a swift blade making a sharp, poignant entry. They haven’t yet made their exit as I reflect on the truth of what she said.

Once I recovered from the initial blow and embarrassment, I began to look more objectively at how I was relating to the people in my life and the effect I was having.

I noticed how unconsciously my thoughts and responses flowed from my brain, out of my mouth. Without much thought, I spoke from a reactive place, not considering how my words might impact the person to whom I am speaking. Then I wonder why their jaw has dropped, or why do I have to pick them up off the floor? Why can’t I get what I want? Why aren’t they listening to me?

The day after I began writing this, I walked into the kitchen in the morning to make a cup of coffee. My housemate was there, cooking kale and garlic and, granted it was 7:30am, but I began telling her how offensive the smell of garlic was that early in the morning and why couldn’t she cook her breakfast in the downstairs kitchen. I did not have any attention on her or how she would feel about my tirade. After the words rolled out of my mouth, I looked up at her face and I wished I could take them back and start all over again. What a way to start the day! There are so many other ways I could have handled the situation, like saying good morning first, maybe telling her that I am glad she was making a healthy meal and go downstairs myself to make my coffee. I could have stopped a minute and thought about my words before they came tumbling out.

I thought about the times I have totally disabled the men in my life by not thinking about what I was saying.  One negative comment, (you want that?) even a look (furrowed brows) has turned a potential good time into a losing situation. I have learned that I do not have to say everything that I am thinking- I can afford to stop a minute -think about the words that I choose and the effect that I may have based on those choices.

As my teacher pointed out, those thoughtless moments are mean and who, after all, is pretty enough to get away with that? I have since realized those words could be spoken to all women because we all have the potential of being mean. It’s a choice we all make from moment to moment.

What choices will you make?

 

5 Responses to You’re Not Pretty Enough To Be That Mean

  1. Judi August 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Carol, What a great reminder. I was also told that by the same teacher on another occasion and I was MORTIFIED.

    I was going through a divorce and was being downright cruel to my husband. And when she said that to me, it just caught me so off guard and then it was only later that someone told me that they said that to most all women who took that course.

    I noticed how we can be mean and not even realize it when really our guys just want to have our approval. There are nice ways to frame something when we are not happy about something rather than pointing out how they failed yet again.

    I have learned a lot since then about watching my words. Of course it is practice not perfection. But I also have been better about learning to apologize.

    • Carol Sue October 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      Hi Judi,

      Thanks for letting me know what’s happening with you.

      Yes- watching your words is a practice, a daily one at that.

      It’s easy to go for the instant response and hard to get out of if your words are hurtful or damaging.
      That minute of thought can save hours of potential loss.

      It’s a good practice to notice when we are being mean, then do something about it. Apologizing, when authentic, goes a long way.

      I am struck by how sensitive guys can be and it makes me love them even more.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Carol Sue

  2. duane August 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Lately, since hearing that term used in that way and looking at it as an adjective: small-minded or ignoble, stingy, or miserly, it makes such great sense. A mean person being stingy with positive remarks or indication, and reducing the other(s) around to a smaller place instead of generosity and support. Indeed, it takes work to be generous and nice.

    Maybe another word that serves is ‘lazy’.

    My righteous attacker said “Maybe you need your own stage”. Good one! Nailed my ass right on the spot. Perfect for some guy that has to put in his own two cents worth before checking whether he’s pushed other people off the road into the ditch. I’m usually more careful now, but sometimes I get LAZY!

  3. Sara October 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    Thanks Carol Sue, for sharing your wisdom. I had to stop when I read this line:

    “I have learned that I do not have to say everything that I am thinking- I can afford to stop a minute -think about the words that I choose and the effect that I may have based on those choices.”

    I have this thing about being honest, but in the last two years, I’ve realized that tactless honesty can be a blunt weapon of destruction. When what I really want to express is a desire for change, for what I DO want, I think I’ll find more success in applying my honesty in the form of an approval sandwich.

    Thanks for the insight. Looking forward to applying it.

    • Carol Sue October 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

      Thanks for writing your thoughts. Sara.
      I do think that “honesty” tends to be overrated… especially when it’s cloaking some kind of criticism or “now I’ll tell them what I think” in the name of being “honest” attitude.
      I personally would rather they keep those thoughts to themselves.

      I like what you said about wanting to express a desire for change and trying it out in approval sandwich form. People tend to feel short of being of approved of so I think this will work well. It also feels good to do!

      Keep me posted on how it goes.
      Carol Sue

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