I shared a situation that I got involved in today at the Desteni group chat where I reacted to other two people’s conversation that I was stepping into as I was getting in the car to go somewhere with the pilot. The conversation was gossiping or talking negatively about someone else and the conversation was leading to a lack of focus at the wheel by the person whose car I was getting into. So, in my attempt to stop having to be part of something that ‘I didn’t want to be a part of’ – the gossip – and steering the pilot’s focus and attention to the road, I made a comment that eventually got heard by the person on the other side of the line. I said ‘I don’t want to hear gossip’ – yes, I said it calmly and not in a loud voice, but still it caused a reaction and the person on the other side of the line ‘got the message’ and ended the conversation. The person I was with in the car got visibly bothered and angry about me voicing this out loud and ending up being heard by the other person.
Now, at first sight one would say ‘well yes, you had the right to do that, gossip is bad and you did what is best for all, which is to stop the ongoing conversation if it is simply talking badly about others’ – but, the reality is that, that is the way I would prefer to think of things and be righteous in my ‘right’ to ‘speak up’ and call people out if they are ‘talking shit’ about others. But, in reality, based on me understanding what reactions do and what my words may trigger in others – which I didn’t really consider at the time – I actually could have done better in how I participated in that whole situation.
After discussing it in the chat and opening it up with several people, I agree that I could have breathed through the gossip. I realize that a part of me actually got ‘involved’ in it by placing my mind into it and so judging it, otherwise, I would not have reacted to it. It wasn’t a situation where I could just ‘walk out’ of the environment or the situation since I was getting into a car that was going to be in motion, and I was actually aiming to get somewhere at a specific time. I ‘should have known better’ and not judge or react to the conversation that these two people were having. It wasn’t my car either and I wasn’t asked to intervene or to give an opinion either. Instead, I could have focused on what really became an actual problem, which was the lack of focus of the pilot at the wheel.
So, I realize that I did react to what was being said, where I considered how unbearable their words were and what their ‘intensity’ was when talking about other people and their particular context, which I also considered to be greatly lacking in consideration and understanding to others on their behalf, but, there I a didn’t consider from the get go how ‘calling out the gossip’ in a situation that I just got into, in someone else’s car gave me no right to intervene in such a way, because in essence yes it was a ‘private conversation’ yet held through the car’s speakers, which is also why my remarks were openly heard. I had no problem with this, but the pilot of the car did.
So the actual fear factor involved is that I actually feared for a car crash due to the lack of attention and dexterity that the driver was showing as a result of trying to focus on me giving directions and keeping ‘at it’ with the phone conversation in the car.
After assessing it and also talking it out with my partner, I realized that I also took the point to another level by trying to explain and clarify things afterwards the whole ‘reaction’ took place. Here I didn’t consider that, if someone is ‘already in a reaction’ they will most likely be extremely bothered by me trying to talk them out of the reaction or asking what was really wrong or trying to clarify things… I honestly haven’t considered that if someone is already quite pissed, the best is to keep quiet, instead of trying to explain myself and give examples or even alternative solutions to the kind of situation. I had not considered that if a person is in a reaction… no matter what I try and explain, it will most likely not even be heard if the other person is not really working on easing their reactions, or feel equally righteous about their reaction.
So, something that I also forgot in this moment – and I must say it was also fueled by a fear of actually getting into some kind of car crash because of the lack of attention to the road – is to take responsibility for MY reactions first and foremost – in this case, towards the gossip itself – and to instead focus on directing what was the priority in the moment, which was: the driving, the attention and the focus.
I even considered that I could have done better by actually speaking out to the other person on the line – since they could hear me anyways – and explain that the pilot was losing focus and attention on the road because of the conversation, so please calling at a later time. But I didn’t, because I reacted more to what was being said and creating the idea that ‘I was now being a silent participant of the gossip’ and I simply didn’t want to be a part of it. However, that’s also an excuse that is not looking at the source of the point, which is my reactions towards the conversation, the words and reacting to it as gossip in itself, which caused me to want to ‘voice myself out’ in the moment and then causing more conflict in the situation than the one I was trying to ‘get myself out of’ in a third party manner – and no this didn’t make the journey ‘safer’ or ‘calmer’ either.
It is cool to share this kind of things with others and gather perspectives, because I then am able to expand a lot from what I usually consider and also from taking a regular person’s perspective, like my partner, because he isn’t walking this process, yet he also sees how at times the way I word things out can be misunderstood and this is one of those things that I agree, not many can actually understand what I mean and how I see things and can simply become like word-bullets that people react to even if the context and starting point in which I am saying is not ‘aimed’ to hurt or be offensive, but this is also my point to work on and practicing communicating with ‘regular words’ or more descriptive to people that may not fully ‘grasp’ what I mean when I say ‘you are not being supportive at this very moment’ – because the pilot person then took it as if ‘they hadn’t been supportive at all’ and I was being ungrateful… instead of my initial intent which was to explain that having someone with me with such reactions towards me wasn’t supportive for me if they couldn’t let go of the reaction based on the past moment in the car, also considering the situation that we were heading to.
So, lesson learned: I have to find other words to explain what I mean and to learn to simply keep quiet and understand when a person is in a reaction about a certain situation and that it doesn’t mean that they now ‘totally’ want to get away from me or disregard me. So, keeping quiet is not something I usually apply, because I believe I have to ‘make things right’ and ‘explain myself’ but, if a person is already in a reaction, the best thing is to have the thing just cool down and not open it up until the waters are calmer on both sides.
My responsibility remains the same, I have to check my own reactions and if I am getting into someone else’s car and they are driving me somewhere as a favor, that’s it, I have to get used to whatever they are listening to or whatever conversation they are deciding to put in the speakers for me to listen to as well. I also considered that I could have just listened through the conversation and perhaps later on once everything is done and we could arrive safely to our destination, to give a perspective about how to possibly approach the situation where someone else’s words or deeds are being judged, and to consider ‘more than what meets the eye’ which is how I know gossip goes when we assume things and don’t really consider what may be going on in someone else’s life, but we then find it very easy to just talk badly about others without placing ourselves in their shoes, and fully consider what they were going through, and the same on the other people’s side, to understand is to be able to forgive as well.
Ultimately, as much as I would have liked that moment to possibly assist the people involved in realizing ‘hey, it’s actually not beneficial for anyone to be talking crap about others,’ I also realize that my intent should not be in ‘wanting to change others’ – ever – because! I’ve been there, done that and have fallen flat on the ground with it as it should be, because change and self responsibility is about ourselves, not about ‘doing it to others’ or wanting to impose something to others, which yes, Marlen knows quite a great deal of, but it still slipped out again today, even if in a more ‘composed’ way, it still caused reactions in others.
So, as much as I could be thinking ‘oh my god, why did I do that, what was I thinking, why didn’t I take my own responsibility and felt the right to say what I said?’ and feel bad about it, I also realize that I wouldn’t learn anything by only staying in feeling guilty about the situation. I instead have looked at different ways in which the same situation could have unfolded which involve me keeping quiet and watching my own reactions – putting a guard on my mouth – as the event developed, focusing on giving the right directions and perhaps only later on giving a perspective to the pilot, since the relationship is quite close and I consider I am able to give an opinion even if unrequested, and to perhaps give another set of considerations towards the subject of the gossip – there I am not judging the gossip, but rather seeing where there might be assumptions, judgments and a lack of ‘placing yourself in someone else’s shoes’ type of consideration.
Another option is that I could have intervened in the conversation by saying ‘Hello x person, look this conversation is distracting the driver, so would you please call by at another time – thanks’ – though some might still find this intrusive or disrespectful. So yes, I have to watch out for that kind of situations as well considering it’s not ‘my space’ and there is something going on as I step into it. And another option was resorting to doing some hand signals to say ‘cut it off’ to the driver in order to simply focus on the road and the direction we were going. But, that didn’t even cross my mind since I am usually just quite direct, but I have to develop some ‘tact’ in relation to other people as well – which doesn’t mean to ‘back off’ and suppress, but simply to consider the moment and the people involved as well.
I also have to consider that yes, some people might be more reactive in their minds and that calling them out for something like ‘gossiping’ can be deemed as offensive. In this, the context is relevant as well, some people might know where I stand in relation to not being a participant in that kind of stuff and others aren’t – sometimes people get ‘carried away’ by the kind of ‘energy’ that floats out from talking gossip to the point where it’s as if the righteousness that it is being talked to could give a certain ‘high ‘to people, and that means losing one’s ground. I know it because I’ve done it, and that’s even with feeling so very righteous about it like criticizing a ‘bad government’ or politician or ‘the system’, which were my ‘specialty’ piñata-like topics to hit on every time that I could back in the day.
So, with this all being said, I have to learn to consider others more, otherwise, people will simply react more and possibly cause more conflict if the person is reacting, they still lose focus on the road if I keep trying to ‘explain myself.’ I have to learn to let it all ‘cool down’ and keep quiet and possibly change the subject in the awareness that I am not avoiding to talk about it – because I usually do exactly the opposite and insist on ‘opening it up’ – and realize that some people deal better with a moment of anger or frustration by keeping quiet, not discussing it any longer and not questioning their actions right after ‘the facts,’ because…. It usually leads to no growth or learning process because the reactions are on the way, and that’s something I know very well so, I can’t expect someone else to be entirely ‘ok’ after such kind of situation just because I feel ok and calm about it. There I have to extend my consideration to the other person’s mind and state of being and understand them, even if I was fine about the entire situation.
In conclusion, I can’t expect people to handle this kind of situations like I would or be wiling to ‘be self honest’ about their words and deeds if that is not what they are ‘into’ doing in their lives. If I decide to step into someone else’s ‘world’ or space for a moment, I have to be willing to walk through whatever is going on with them if I am asking them for a favor, and if I see that it is an ongoing pattern, then I can simply voice out why I don’t find it supportive to be in that kind of situations – if they are often – whenever I get to drive around with them and find another way through. So, it’s about communication and finding solutions and seeing what is important for each person and be willing to understand that, otherwise, I do become a tyrant in someone else’s land and, it’s not an uncommon trait in me that I actually have to change.
I share this because it might be very common that some of us may feel ‘righteous’ to call people out in certain moments by believing we are stopping certain kind of abuse or situation that we deem as consequential or negative. In this case it wasn’t my intent to call them out, I voiced what I wasn’t ‘willing to be a part of’ but it ended up still coming from a reaction and being received as an offense and as a calling out, so, that’s where I see that I have to be careful of how I say things and what my starting point of it is and ensure it’s not coming from a judgment that causes a reaction. Otherwise, I become the very gossiping that I am judging by judging the gossip in my mind and reacting to it, so, in wanting to prevent myself from ‘being a part of it’ I became a part of it by giving it my awareness and ears and taking it ‘in’ and reacting to it in one way or another, which is then, defeating the whole purpose of ‘stopping the gossip’ in the first place.
There’s a quote I read yesterday from Nietzsche “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster…” it’s interesting because I had mostly always remembered the second half of the quote but never really ‘registered’ this first part, and it is so important to consider that, in my attempt to ‘stop something negative’ going on, I created or caused more conflict, negative reactions in others. So, instead of ‘trying to fight’ what I am judging in a moment as bad, evil, conflictive, I have to understand it, to remind myself that calling it out from a reaction won’t lead to an outcome that is supportive for anyone – and instead, get to understand why people tend to gossip, what it ‘gives them’ as an experience or what the righteousness about it all indicates about themselves, which then in itself also gives me a good idea of ‘where they are at’ in their mindset, in their experience in the moment, and so, realizing there are already reactions going on that I must consider if interacting with the people involved.
Then, ultimately, I wasn’t part of the conversation, it is also as if I had stepped into a taxi and the taxi driver was having the same conversation with an unknown person… well If I had ‘called it out’ by saying ‘I don’t want to be part of this gossip’ then I would have been surely kicked out of the taxi. So, I took it personally also because of the relationship with these people and what I consider was ‘unfair’ in relation to the subject they were talking about and the way the subject was talked about as well, so it also indicates my own judgments. So that’s also a good way to put things into perspective where the relationship with these people form a reason for me to try and ‘stop it from continuing’, like preventing ME from being a tacit participant in it – when, well, if I did the same about Everything that goes on in this world that I judge as bad, negative, harmful or consequential? Then I would be wanting to ‘call out’ a lot of problems that happen every single moment and ‘not be a part of it,’ isn’t it?
It would have been a very different story if I was asked for a perspective or if I was there from the beginning as a known participant in a situation of gossip – and one that I could simply turn and walk away from as well. So, I recognize my flaws in this one, while also realizing that it is cool to give feedback to the closest people that I care for, but sometimes even that, can be unrequested and not really wanting to hear my perspective on certain things. This is also to ‘let go’ of wanting others close to me to ‘open their eyes’ about certain things that I consider they could change and are damaging to themselves, and instead, be an example of that with my own living and the way that I can express myself when talking about others, one that is understanding and considerate, so that is where it all begins, within self.
Thanks for reading.
And! Because I recently translated these to Spanish, if anyone can identify more with the ‘feeling offended’ side, this is a great series to follow through and support yourself with:
- Offended: All About You – Atlanteans – Part 315
- Offended: Understanding and Changing in Real Time – Atlanteans – Part 316
- Offended: Inferior|Superior – Atlanteans – Part 317
- Offended: Stop the Polarity Game – Atlanteans – Part 318
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