Wednesday, July 8, 2009

you gotta know when to hold em

Texas traffic is crawling outside of my window. Tractor trailers are methodically plodding along, their drivers probably not in a hurry anyway since they are getting paid no matter what. Or maybe they are a little anxious cause they are under a deadline, in which case they are cursing the three lane highway, the urban sprawl, and the oven that is Texas right now. It's not like they can sit fully immersed in water as they drive.

Which, in my opinion, is really the only acceptable option in terms of being outside here.

Which is why I spent my afternoon in the pool.

And I very well might spend every afternoon just like that for these couple of weeks.

But anyway.

I am so annoyed with myself right now. See, I had the very slightest beginnings of a pimple and so I decided to dig in there and make it much much worse.

Because now I am left with an open wound right by my mouth, at worst leaving people to assume that I have an STD and at best causing the scab to crack and hurt every time I smile. And believe me, I'd much rather trade the very slightest beginnings of a pimple for the huge scab/wound/goiter that I am now sporting.

And this got me to thinking...Maybe life can sort of be like this. Yeah, it's probably one of the least attractive and unromantic metaphors that are in existence today (when you think of it in terms of the pimple), but sometimes we dig and prod and pry when really things would be much better if simply left alone.

If we just tried some patience on for size.

Sometimes I do this with Drew. I know our hot buttons, I know the things that can easily lead to The Tense Time. And yet, when I feel upset about anything at all, I inevitably bring it around to those. I prod and pry and am left with a big ugly scab that heals, yes, but wasn't necessary in the first place and stands as a direct result from me not just leaving things be.

I am not saying that you should ignore problems.

I am simply saying that, like the song goes, You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em and sometimes I just plain don't. I find myself talking and talking when really I should have just held my tongue or at the very least shut up after my first few sentences weren't exactly what the doctor ordered.

Anyone else have a hard time not digging into things that would be better left alone?


The Husband said...

I agree. You DO do that. I'm not saying I don't, but you definitely do it more. :)

Jessica Latshaw said...

You wanna start something, Copeland???

beingawesome said...

seriously any entry that involves kenny rogers... i'm on board.

Jessica Latshaw said...

glad to have you on board, Rob!!!

mom said...

Interesting blog. I'm teaching on forgiveness this Sunday and one of the problems I see over and over again in marriages is that people (most often women in my experience) just love to talk over and over again the same offenses--what the Bible calls "keeping a record of wrongs."

Emily said...

Yeah, leaving well enough alone is an exercise in self-control. It's hard not to scratch that itch, or pick at that pimple! I actually am the opposite when it comes to Dan... I avoid the sensitive topics, because I like to keep the peace, but eventually it all comes out, and that has it's own unhealthiness.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Mom--yeah, that is pretty easy to do--but definitely not helpful in any situation.

Emily--I suppose we could each take a lesson from each other and maybe find a balance somewhere in between;-)

jason said...

I'm trying to learn about this myself.

This is what Dale Carnegie has to say about it in How to Make Friends and Influence people:

I was attending a banquet one night given in Sir Ross's honor; and during the dinner, the man sitting next to me told a humorous story which hinged on the quotation "There's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will."

The raconteur mentioned that the quotation was from the Bible. He was wrong. I knew that. I knew it positively. There couldn't be the slightest doubt about it. And so, to get a feeling of importance and display my superiority, I appointed myself as an unsolicited and unwelcome committee of one to correct him. He stuck to his guns. What? From Shakespeare? Impossible! Absurd! That quotation was from the Bible. And he knew it.

The storyteller was sitting on my right; and Frank Gammond, an old friend of mine, was seated at my left. Mr. Gammond had devoted years to the study of Shakespeare. So the storyteller and I agreed to submit the question to Mr. Gammond. Mr. Gammond listened, kicked me under the table, and then said: "Dale, you are wrong. The gentleman is right. It is from the Bible."

On our way home that night, I said to Mr. Gammond: "Frank, you knew that quotation was from Shakespeare."

"Yes, of course," he replied, "Hamlet, Act Give, Scene Two. But we were guests at a festive occasion, my dear Dale. Why prove to a man he is wrong? Is that going to make him like you? Why not let him save his face? He didn't ask for your opinion. He didn't want it. Why argue with him? Always avoid the acute angle." The man who said that taught me a lesson I'll never forget. I not only had made the storyteller uncomfortable, but had put my friend in an embarassing situation. ...

You can't win an argument. You can't because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Why? Well, suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that he is non compos mentis. Then what? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph. And --

A man convinced against his will
Is of the same opinion still.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Jase--that is excellent; so true!

The Husband said...

Here's the thing, Jase: I'm hardly EVER right in my arguments with Jess. Can't I savor my oh so infrequent victories? :)