Do as I say, not as I do

It is Labor Day and rather than relaxing, I’m feeling remorseful.

Saturday night we had a bonfire celebrating my best friend’s birthday. The following morning I woke up crabby, probably because I hadn’t slept much the night before.

That same afternoon, I happened to be looking out the window and saw a random car pull into our driveway. The car stood in our driveway for about a minute. I finally went out there and said rather rudely, “What are you doing here?” She went on to tell me that our bonfire was still smoldering from the night before. As I mentioned I was feeling crabby, so my immediate response was yelling “GET OFF MY PROPERTY!” She then told me she was our neighbor & drove away.

After my snarky remark I immediately felt guilt-ridden. This person was most likely trying to be a responsible neighbor & wanted to warn us before a fire started. In the moment my ego stepped in because I thought she was bossing me around so I “clapped back” with my spiteful retort.

It’s almost engrained in me to be defensive & assume the worst. I write a lot about being kind and in that moment, I wasn’t kind. I later told my husband our exchange & quickly blamed it on my east coast attitude.

Regardless of where people are from there is no excuse to treat someone disrespectfully. I sometimes find myself doing things that I tell others to not do. For example, my boys are loud. They yell a lot. So often when I get fed up I scream back, “BE QUIET!!!” How am I teaching them to be quiet when I am yelling at them myself?

Words and ideas often look good on paper. “Be a good person.” Yes, that makes common sense. But putting it into practice? Way harder. I always believe that actions speak louder than words. Following through with what you say shows character. It requires discipline & a strong sense of morals.

I can be weak. It’s easy for me to fall into old habits and get defensive or snarky. The remorse I feel afterwards though isn’t worth the ego I think I’m protecting in the moment, however.

Egos can get in the way of our personal success. As a person who in the past has felt unseen or unheard, I can lash out at times. Rather than staying strong & silent in the moment, my ego wanted to be heard instead.

I strive to be confident, happy and proud. But it’s also good to stay humble & practice humility. My pride had gotten in the way that day. After she had driven away my humility came into play and I knew I was wrong.

It’s ok to make mistakes. I don’t want to beat myself up over a 2 minute exchange I had with a neighbor. But next time I see her, I will apologize.

Mistakes happen. But when they do and you know you’re wrong, make amends. So I’m going to practice what I preach and say I’m sorry. Because in the end it doesn’t matter who was right, it matters that I do the right thing.


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