I have a ritual at the end of the work day. When I get home, I generally need a few moments to decompress before I can really talk normally to another human being. The dogs being so excited to see me that they jump all over me annoys me. The poor husband who’s been home alone all day and just wants someone to talk to gets brief responses and me constantly escaping to another room to be alone, resulting in a comical chase around the house. Makes me wonder if I’m more of an introvert than I thought. Anyway, last night my need for decompression led to a bit of a tiff between me and the husband.
Shortly after I’d walked in the door and was getting ready for my nice, relaxing bath, there was a knock at the door. Jeff goes to see who it is, and steps out to talk to the Time Warner guy who’s out there. Apparently he was trying to upsell us because we currently only have internet-that they know of. See, when we cancelled the cable, we still got all the channels, through like 60 or something. At first I just thought that was what everyone “gets” for free now and wondered why anyone pays for the stuff, but then I realized that we were scoring free cable. Anyway, the guy must have been persistent because Jeff tells him “look, you can take it away if you want but we already get x-y channels.” Guy’s all flabbergasted and asks Jeff if that’s legal-we tell him we cancelled everything through their office.
Jeff comes back in to relay the story and I get disproportionately annoyed. You TOLD him we’re scoring free cable? Why would you do that! Now I won’t get to watch HGTV when I get home! WAH! And poor Jeff’s all perplexed. “Yeah, what’s the big deal? We have Netflix and Hulu and plenty of ways to be entertained”. And there’s the problem. The heart of the matter. Jeff’s in school. He’s reading about math and poli sci when he’s doing homework, and about space when he’s not. Pretty intellectual stuff. I spend my evenings watching TV, messing around on the computer, and read the occasional tabloid (OK, not occasional-I get a few subscriptions. Don’t judge). I get pretty defensive about that stuff because I feel like I “should be” more intellectual than I am. I’m a smart lady, but at the end of the day I want mindless fluff instead of getting smarter, creating things, or cleaning house. And I feel guilty about that, so I transferred that into annoyance at Jeff. Not fair, right?
We all do that to some degree, though. The things we’re most self conscious about in ourselves get rigorously defended when someone sees them. It’s projection. I’ve been working on my insecurities, and I’m aware that feeling like I’m not using my full potential is one of them. So instead of whining, being mad, or any other reaction, I just went into the bathroom, closed the door, and took my bath. I’m pretty prone to a gut response and then once I think about things, getting better perspective and totally changing my opinion. I thought about what was at the core of my reaction instead of “I can’t believe he told them to take our free cable away!” And I realized that my reaction wasn’t really to the situation at all, it was an internal feeling of being “less than”. So I made myself list ways that was wrong. You can only be “less than” if you’re comparing yourself to someone. And I’m trying HARD to break the comparison trap.
So, the moral of this story: I’m maturing. I can recognize when my gut’s telling me to do the wrong thing, separate from the situation, and wait until my gut catches up to my brain. Look at me, adulting all over the place!