How zen should we be?

18 Sep

Tiny confession: I have a terrible temper. Ask my colleagues, or friends, or family – I can explode pretty well when I want to, and I have a tendency to be mean on the spot. Some days I fear that, had I been one of the popular kids at school, I might have been a real bully.

Anyway, since I know this, I constantly strive to improve this area. I do breathing exercises at the desk, count to three before countering an argument and try to be as kind, in general, as possible. And that is tough for someone who used to have among her mottos the phrase, “I’d rather lose a good friend than a bad joke.”

(Blame my family for this. Meeting them for the first time tends to scare people away.)

And every now and again I get confused. How much of my temper is character, and how much is bad habit? I do not intend to step out of my skin, for I believe that everyone is perfect the way they come, we only get warped and twisted by society (and yes, that includes our families).

Right now I am working on expressing my feelings, the good and the bad ones. In the past I used to wall up and become all passive-aggressive – that trait can be used for hilarity in friendly banter, but is abso*fucking*lutely useless in reality. And to avoid my temper spilling over into my real emotions, I have a how-to guide: Everytime someone says something that makes me want to explode, I take a step back. Like, a mile. And then I try to find out whether I am really upset, or if it was just something insignificant that flipped my switch because I am weird like that. When during our last meeting my sister made a few remarks that made me want to rip out her throat – please tell me that’s normal among sisters! – I thought about it for more than two weeks before approaching her about it, to be sure I was not being mean just because I could. (Now it is her turn to express herself, and I hate waiting, but… we’re sisters. What’s the worst that can happen? We hate each other for a few months and then get back together, we’re family.)

On the other hand, I have learned that being too nice is often considered a weakness. Clashing with colleagues in the workplace has, after several years, earned me a tiny advantage, being a European woman among Muslim men – not that they respect me or anything, I am not delusional, but they suspect I may be batshit crazy. Fine by me.

End of ramblings: How zen (or kind) do you think we should be in everyday life? And when do we have to take up the battle? When is it okay to embody Pele, and when should we rather be Guanyin-like? Gosh, I wish I were a fungus. ^^


2 Responses to “How zen should we be?”

  1. magalyguerrero September 21, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    Love-hate relationships between sisters have inspired epic stories (and short stories, too). I have no idea why those things happen, they just do. Some are lucky and get to make up after a while, others have to walk away in the name of sanity and to stay out of jail. What I’ve learned from you and your sister, after reading your blog for years, tells me you won’t have to wait that long–you love each other.

    I don’t think you’d have been a bully in any universe. You might have beaten the crap out of too many people who deserved it, but never abused others–you are too smart for the former.

    I believe life is rather wise when telling us when to punch and went to step back. Life does make mistakes every now and again, but hey, no one is perfect! Well, I am. But that’s different. 😀

    • diandralinnemann September 23, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      Not sure about that not-a-bully thing. I take solace thinking that I am good by choice rather than nature (when i am being good), that has to count for something.

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