You know that whole expression about taking the high road, being the better person, all that crap. I think it rings of martyrdom. You know, you’re the better person, but you’re really still pissed off and not standing up for yourself, honoring your boundaries, whatever it is. Like when someone piously tells you how to parent your kid and you politely listen, even though what they’re saying has little merit. Like the time an acquaintance casually suggested I put my two year old on Ritalin – really? But instead of ripping her a new one, I politely smiled and said I thought two was a little young for medication.
I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately as I am a very accomplished martyr – I take the high road, swallow my anger and try to pretend it doesn’t matter. But the truth is, it does. At least to me.
Since that approach wasn’t working for me, I instead tried to turn the issue on it’s head and look at it from different angles. I found one that is kind of working for me. It’s very yoga and it’s the idea that high water lifts all boats. In other words, it’s not that they win and I lose when they say something nasty, and I keep my mouth shut. Or that I am somehow holier than thou for being mute which often mistaken for polite (a passive aggressive way of thinking that the martyr wins). It is simply that by just doing the right thing for myself and my family, not medicating my son, not causing a scene on the playdate, not sharing feedback in a hurtful way that the other person really can’t hear anyway, I am putting that energy out into the universe and letting other people rise up as well.
I don’t need to be a martyr and fall on my sword. I just need to do the right thing for my family and everything else will work out from there. So, there’s my oddball insight for the day. Try not to think of things in a competitive context of one person has to win and the other has to lose. Instead try to just think that when you make the right choice for your family, all parties can rise to their best behavior.