for the first time in months, i talked to a loved one on the phone. she asked what was new, and i told her, happily, how i took improv.
“WHY?” she blurted out in a hostile tone.
i let her meanness hang in the silence.
“ok …” i replied, and prepared to end the suddenly-toxic conversation.
i could've ranted. i could've raved. i could've matched her hostility by pointing out i:
- want to learn and try new things.
- am engaged in the world and curious.
- want to challenge myself.
- am alive while she's, whatever she is.
but it wasn't worth it. i felt…almost nothing.
her inability to congratulate me revealed all i needed to know—she’s unhappy. her dissatisfaction is so widespread she can’t look beyond herself. not even to say, “hey, little introvert, nicely done!”
her opinion was so self-referential, spinning so tightly around the axis of herself that self defense was pointless. actually, i luxuriated in explaining nothing. my mind rested on the beach. hers struggled to recover from the grouchy outburst by peppering me with questions and feigning curiosity about my answers.
her discontent (to put it mildly) colored everything she touched. it was a twist on the story of King Midas. she showed me who she was at that moment and i wasn't interested.
after a few minutes of her verbal writhing and self-correction, i got off the phone and returned to my upbeat existence.
how people respond to your accomplishments speaks volumes about their state of mind. all you need to do is evaluate accordingly. refusing to join them in the muck is self-care of the highest order.