Love letter to the Quiet Assholes

A few months ago I was driving in my car with my creative partner, Camila, in sunny California; things hadn't been so bright and sunny between us as we worked, edited, and made decisions together, and I felt extremely annoyed with her this day. I couldn't pinpoint exactly why, but everything she did irked me: She puts on makeup in the car, I think she's vain; she turns the radio louder, I think she's inconsiderate; she looks at her phone, I think she's disconnected.

I ignored her as I silently stewed in my displeasure. How did I get trapped with such an irritating person? I felt the heat of my condescension start in my gut and rise to my heart and swell. I was also mad at myself for behaving this way because I knew I was being what we call radiaNOT. I resisted reacting vocally to these feelings by instead choosing to be a silent oppressor, not responding or paying any attention to her existence in the car. 

In a moment when I nearly reacted to this festering anger a little voice popped into my head; I don't know how it got past the rabble that was inhabiting my brain, but it simply said, "I am worthy." I don't know where it came from, but I felt the words seep into my being and soften me. I noticed the swell come back down, and thought the words again, purposefully this time, and I felt my face relax and my mind clear; I laughed out loud. My anger completely dissipated in five seconds with those three little words from nowhere. 

A mentor of mine once told me, "any negativity in your outer environment reflects inner turmoil." I've used this experience to coach others, and still turn to those three words when I notice negative reactions rising in my body (if I remember). The concept makes sense to me because that anger, hatred, annoyance, selfishness, disconnection, whatever you want to call it, stems from my need to be superior to and separate from someone else. But when I feel my value deeply I don't need to compete or bring someone else down-- with an abundance of love inside I can give it forward freely.

It's not that Cami doesn't have her own stuff to work on; perhaps she really wasn't considering how I felt that day, and was caught up in her own little world, but in that moment I attempted to bring her down through manipulation instead of bringing her up through honest, loving feedback. I attempted to force her to feel small through my judgmental energy, rather than openly discuss the nuances behind her actions and also being willing to dissect my reactions to them, vulnerably. 

In our screenings we ask, "how many of you have been in any kind of relationship where you wish the other person would change?" Think about someone with whom you don't have your ideal relationship. How does this person make you feel when they're around? How do you behave towards them, in response?

Now think of someone in your life whom you would describe as "radiant." How does that person make you feel when they're around? How do you behave towards them, in response?

This anecdote, of course, is a small example to illustrate a point about the vagaries that can happen 100 times a day in any relationship. I can still get caught up by my reactions to Cami; but I know that my reactions have everything to do with me and unrest in my inner world, and nothing to do with her. There's always an intentional and loving way to give someone the space to grow when you feel at peace with yourself, instead of making them feel wrong or small. And when I feel my worth I can remember that I love her deeply, and she's also worthy-- even with her blind spots and flaws.

We have found that Radiant people open that space for the people around them to be their best self by taking responsibility to be the one who loves the most. Think of the positive possibilities you could create in that negative relationship if you simply decided to be the radiant one. The other person may be weirded out by the switch at first, but I would bet my life they end up following your lead.