Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Musings on Sins, Sinners and Sinning.

Is it worse to screw up and, by extension, not by design, piss someone off, or to be the pissed off person and not accept an apolgy?

Having been in this position - that of the inadvertently wronged person - a few times in my life, and also having been in the position of being hurt and not wanting to accept an apology, I want to know which is the greater sin.

Anyone know a Rabbi?

People, being the falable humans they are, are prone to making bad decisions, being idiots, saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, being insecure and reverting to pretty animalistic behaviour sometimes.

However, in most cases, people don't sit about plotting to piss other people off. I'm sure there are people who have some psychological syndrome that predisposes them to finding ways to piss off their friends and family, but I think those people are reasonably rare.

The rest of us simply make asses of ourselves without any planning or pretense. So, if a person screws up, is surprised by a reaction, feels bad about it and offers an apology but the apology is refused, I'd say the refusal is the greater sin.

I've been reading a synopsis of The Anger Diet by Brenda Shoshanna and how anger is often the outlet of choice, "...when people are depressed, feel anxious or suffer mood disorders, they really are angry, she says. Anger also appears as apathy, hopelessness, promiscuity and passive-aggressive behavior, she adds.

Speaking for myself, that was certainly the case in the past. I lived many years feeling powerless, ugly and incapable; I didn't believe that I had any viable skills or anything to offer anyone. This serious lack of self-esteem allowed me to marry the absolute wrong person (I temper this with gratitude for my children, who I would not have had were it not for that bad marriage).

I suffered intense anger for years - everthing set me off including others' unintentional slights, looks from strangers, frustrations - you name it, it pissed me off.

My saving grace was (is) a wonderful friend who has been instrumental in forcing me to look at my life, my self and my accomplishments from a rational, not emotional, point of view and to allow myself some self-congratulations. This is a whole 'nother post so I'll leave it for now.

I still have moments of anger and self-doubt but also have a much greater, useful ability to sift through the situation and consider it from a non-emotional point of view. It's rare day that I lose my temper now. It's a question of not proceeding from an emotional basis on every point , but from a point of view of analysis - my dad would jump out of his skin if he were to read this... "respond, don't react" was his mantra.

Having said all that, it does make me a bit angry to have an apology tossed back in my face - ignored in this case, but, as I beleive most people don't actually go out to piss off their friends, I'm in a position of forgiving the tosser. Weird and circular!

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