I have this little thing (in my head) which I call my Asshole Meter. I’m sorry. I know it’s a little crass, but that is truly what I call it. It’s also hands down one of the best things I’ve developed in my 41 years of life. Contrary to its perhaps weird title, it actually protects you, not from other people, but from yourself.
Have you ever had the experience where in the heat of the moment you say something, or do something rash and jerky? It feels totally justified and satisfying in the moment—in the heat of your rush of pissed-offedness. But later, you start to feel like… an ass.
Well I have.
At some point in my life, I realized that these little outbursts cost ME a lot. Likely they cost me even more than the recipient of my words or (stupid) actions. Why? Because I was the one who rehashed it again and again in my mind, hearing myself say or do something that now seemed like a total asshole thing to do.
That is how my Asshole Meter came to be.
At some point I had an epiphany that one little mean, bitchy, or angry comment like that from my lips could cost me as much (or little) as three whole days of agony. My personal internal retelling of my asshole moment would go on and on in my head without relenting. And one day it dawned on me that the cost wasn’t worth the benefit. The benefit was momentary. Like literally, maybe one moment of my life. The cost was indefinitely larger. It could even resurface years later: as a memory and shamed feeling of what an ass I had been.
So this is what I learned to do:
Recognize when I was in a state of feeling something extreme and not in a good way. Usually it’s anger that makes me do or say these things.
Shut it! Shut my mouth. This is harder than it seems. Because in those moments it just seems SOOOO appealing to say that snarky thing that would put the whole thing to rest, or shine a bright light on how you feel about it. The urge is so powerful it actually takes a HUGE amount of will power to choose to override it and keep your mouth closed, at least for me.
Give myself time and space to fully experience whatever emotion I am feeling. For me that usually means walking into a bathroom, or outside, or wherever I can actually have a moment to myself. Once there (and alone), I really just rant and rave about it. I usually stomp up and down vigorously (like a child), ball my fists, make irritated ugly snarls with my mouth or do whatever I feel called to do that really lets the emotion out in full bodily force (without hurting myself or anything else of course). This satisfies me. Then I can at least fully experience what I am feeling, without the retribution of days of regret.
Then I move on. I put it aside, almost literally. I do not let myself address the issue or the experience in words or actions AT ALL until the emotion has released its hold on my body. Later, after the whole episode has cooled in my veins, if there is actually something that needs to be addressed between a myself and another I do so. By then, I’m calm and sane enough not to peg the meter (as I call it) with my anger. (You know like those scales at fairs you try to hit with a hammer? That’s what I mean by “pegging the meter.” When the force of your emotion just shoots it to the top: DING!) Then, in that calm state I can address whatever my grievance is, be heard and be in a place where I can actually hear the other person and their response as well.
Essentially it boils down to this: I learned to control my actions and words so that (in certain situations) I didn’t say or do anything that would make me feel like an asshole later. (As a disclaimer I should note that I’m still learning to do this within the context of motherhood!) But outside of that, I think I’ve mastered it pretty well. I can recognize those moments easily now and when I do, I clamp it down (my mouth that is). In the end it doesn’t mean that I can’t say or feel what is real for me. It means I do so in a manner that is more beneficial for everyone, yours truly included.
Please note that you should not try this if you are pregnant or nursing. Just kidding, try away, but give yourself a break if it doesn’t work out so well. This is not to give you an excuse, but it is to mention and acknowledge that you are not in control. You have chemicals coursing through your body at all times which are called “hormones.” Hormones are drugs. 😉 But more on that tomorrow.
P.S. Also upcoming: a true-life Asshole Meter story. Stay tuned!
Aimée Cartier is a psychic who specializes in helping her clients align with their own Highest Good and discover their next best steps in life. More about her work can be found here: www.spreadingblessings.com