I got to thinking about this "perfect cocktail" tonight as I reflected on how that truly has been the theme of the day. Maybe there's a lesson in there for me. I had a client talking at length about anger and resentment he harbors against a family member. He acknowledges that she may never change but has been unable to let go of it, so much so that his resentment triggers self-destructive behaviors and sometimes leads to a drinking relapse. His resentment hurts him more than it hurts the family member.
Interestingly, I was on the receiving end of some nasty criticism and resentment tonight. Last night I had emailed someone from my past that I had not communicated with in quite some time. I won't go into the specifics here because it's too personal to blog about, but basically the only reason I contacted this person was to let him know about a friend's death. I felt compelled to let him know because if it wasn't for him, I never would have known this friend who was such a huge, loving presence in my life. My email was well-written, informative and to the point. Nothing was brought up about the past. I even expressed gratitude for having met my friend because of him. I was pleased with what I expressed.
The response I received, however, was completely opposite. It was fraught with resentments from the past, fueled by his judgments of both myself and my friend with an incredibly self-righteous demeaning tone. Even in light of my friend's death, this individual still chose to hold on tightly to his ego and discard any sense of humanity. Some people just never learn. Some people would rather be assholes and say or act somewhat abusively to puff up their own sense of "power" than be kind, forgiving, and compassionate. I've encountered this same M.O. from a few other individuals over the years and while in the past I felt very emotionally wounded by this kind of viciousness (for lack of a better description or interpretation), I quickly bounced back from this particular incident tonight. I was shocked and slightly upset by the unexpected harsh words for a short time, but in the overall scheme of things I chose to not take it personally nor embrace his words as truth or reality.
This is is what I have learned from the best unkind "teachers:" Life is too short to hold onto the bullshit. I don't know about you, but I'd rather hold onto the good: kindness, love, compassion, gratitude, peace, and self-acceptance.
With that said, I'd like to make a shout-out to all the assholes that have been a part of my life. Thank you very much for teaching me to not be like you.