Whilst we see plenty of evidence of both visible and veiled anger in our day-to-day world (think of any and all of the conflict you’re aware of), the blessedness of feelings owned and taken responsibility for is a comparatively rare sight.
There is clear blessing, though, for those who buck the trend.
Rather than blaming our partners, our work colleagues, our brothers or sisters or mothers or fathers or sons or daughters, we ought to stop ourselves in the midst of temptation to that anger, and ask: What is going on within me?
The clearest blessing in such a reflection is the conflict is averted; and embarrassment; and the necessity of an apology, later. That is not to elaborate on the grief we save others and ourselves.
Searching within ourselves—or allowing God the tenure of Lordship this way—is consummate assertiveness; it looks after the needs of others and ourselves.
Resisting Blameworthy Attitudes And Behaviour
It is a fact of life that we judge. Whether we like it or not we fly off in judgment without thought, and when we act on such judgment, again without thought, we get ourselves into all sorts of trouble.
Something has to interrupt our judgment.
Resisting blameworthy attitudes and behaviour—the manifestation of judgment—is as simple as looking, within the emotional incident, for evidence of out-of-control, judgmental feelings and owning them by taking responsibility for them.
Such an act may be simple, but what we might find hard is the pain of feeling our feelings. Many, many people—to most of the world—are afraid of their feelings. It is not the world’s way to be brutally honest regarding raw emotion.
Again, we need to buck the trend.
For our own good, and that of others, we can make the commitment of resisting blameworthy, judgmental attitudes and behaviours, substituting the negative thought space for an instant of reflection: What is going on within me?
The pain of those feelings honestly acknowledged is a mere itch compared with the wallop of denied feelings that spew over in an unguarded moment.
Taking Responsibility For Ourselves
What seems refreshingly adult is the ability of response we have in managing our feelings. What seems so basic is actually quite an advanced portion of emotional intelligence, as well as being fundamental to God-obedience—by being fair and just.
This is what we grew up for; to take responsibility for ourselves (and not for others).
It is easy to blame our partner or other people for things that upset us; it’s too easy, perhaps. When we act in faith to own our feelings everything becomes better.
Our feelings set us apart as uniquely us. When we welcome them we become more intimate even with ourselves. And God’s blessing of peace abides.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.