When It Feels Good to Get Mad
In a recent podcast I told the story of how good it felt to throw an engagement ring across the room at my fiance.
That might sound like a strange thing to delight in.
It was delicious, though. To this day I rank it as one of the best moments of my life.
Here’s why (and why contrast can be so valuable) …
Even though I was in my 30s and old enough to know better, I had pretty much devoted my life to pleasing others.
I was a good girl with a strong track record of doing what others wanted – straight A student, summa cum laude college grad, excelling at work, and general expert at pleasing parents, friends, teachers, bosses and boyfriends alike.
I was so good at doing what others wanted that when my fiance insisted I stop talking with an ex who was also a good friend, I acquiesced.
Even though there was nothing romantic between us and no reason my fiance should be worried, I did as he wished. Seemed a shame to give up a good friendship for no good reason, but back then I believed that relationships required compromise.
So I did what he wanted.
My fiance also insisted that I move in with him, because he didn’t like that we lived 30 minutes apart and wanted us to have more time together. Even though that tripled my work commute and meant uprooting several dogs and cats.
If that’s what he wanted, I’d do it. Because that’s what I did – what others wanted.
In preparation for that move I was painting before a friend moved in as my new renter.
My fiance came over to “help,” which meant watching me paint while talking about his day. I noticed his new shoes and complimented them.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “My ex picked these out for me.”
“Your ex? Picked out those? For you?” Just like in a car wreck, I could feel time starting to slow.
“Yeah,” he said. “We were shopping together and she picked them out.”
There was silence while I processed what he was saying and found my next words …
“So, I can’t even talk to my ex, let alone see him, but you can go shopping with yours?”
“Hmm,” he replied. “I see your point.” There was a three second pause while he looked up at the ceiling to think about it.
He would not hold himself to the same standard he held me to.
And that is when the ring came off.
With trembling fingers and a pounding heart, I finally said no. I finally stood up for myself and put my own desires above someone else’s.
Lil ole people-pleasing me, finally drawing the line.
It was like in the Matrix when Neo stops running and turns to face the agent.
I was becoming myself. Instead of what someone else wanted me to be.
(And maybe ring-throwing wasn’t necessary, but even in hindsight I think it was a nice touch.)
And that’s what I would wish on everyone …
A chance to hear their heart, and the courage to say yes to it. Even when it’s hard. Even when others don’t approve. Even if it’s delivered through contrast.
That was the gift my fiance gave me.
Abraham says we didn’t come here for feathered nests and nothing but joy and bliss. (If that’s what we wanted, we’d stay on the other side of the veil!)
Contrast is part of the gig here.
It’s not a sign of failure when we’re in it. In fact, it’s very likely bringing one of the best gifts we could ever have. So when it’s that time, let’s roll with it.