A Perfectly Good Insult
Every morning I drag myself out of bed at the butt crack of dawn and head to boot camp. And when I do, I typically see the same sweaty, frustrated faces toiling away in the hot Texas sun day in and day out. A month or so ago, a new face emerged. An average height, average build kind of guy with a spiky blue haircut, who I will now refer to as Sonic the Hedgehog.
What irritated me first about Sonic wasn’t the hair (although it wouldn’t have been my first choice to set a new trend), it was the fact that he was the only bootcamper besides moi who actually showed up on time, and therefore stole the only set of twelve-pound weights. MY set of twelve pound weights. So I was forced to move up to fifteens.
I silently cursed him that day during my workout, and all the next when my arms were too sore to even lift my much-needed coffee cup.
A few days later I showed up early, bound and determined to get my hands on those twelves. But they were nowhere to be seen. Sonic was already there and had commandeered my precious weights.
He uttered one sentence, “Has anyone ever told you that you run in slow motion?”
I looked up at his spiky blue face and coy smile.
That bastard. He’s stolen my weights and now he insults me!
Unfortunately during these moments I can never find the right words, it’s a combination of my Catholic school and southern woman upbringing that taught me to keep my mouth shut unless I had anything nice to say. My face started to feel hot and I mumbled something into the ground. But silently I seethed. Has anyone ever told him that his haircut is ridiculous and resembles a cartoon character rodent? I bet not.
But something very interesting happened that day. The girl that is always dead last (moi) passed just about everyone on the run.
And kept passing class after class after class…
At first it felt kind of petty. I damned myself for my competitive nature. I told myself I never should have gotten angry in the first place. I am the enlightened mindfulness guru after all. I kept thinking things like, “Maybe he didn’t mean for it to be an insult,” “It’s just words, don’t let it rattle you.”
But the bottom line is that it did.
And then I thought back to an experience a few years ago, when I had the opportunity to soak in the words of a wise sage.
She explained that emotions (including anger) are the elixir of life and there’s nothing wrong with getting worked up about something.
The trick is what you do with it.
Awaken the Inner Warrior
I must admit this was groundbreaking news to me at the time, because I’ve always considered myself an overly emotional person who has spent my life trying to leg it to the toilet in time to hide my tears or anger. My experience in the corporate world taught me that emotions are bad and should be carefully hidden and controlled at all times in order to be taken seriously.
Luckily I kept listening and she went on to explain that inside each of us is three things: A warrior, a scholar and a sage.
Our inner warrior thrives on passion. Our inner warrior is the part of us that needs to get fired up in order to create change. Our inner warrior works on emotion.
The scholar is the rational, analytical side. The side that puts things in perspective. The side that carefully does her research. The side that stays curious and asks questions. The side that thinks before she speaks.
And the sage inside us knows when to use which.
And then I thought a new thought.
For the past year I’ve been using twelve pounds weights. And ever since I started boot camp, I’ve been last on the run. Until now. Until that fateful moment with Sonic the Hedgehog.
The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I awakened my inner warrior and instantly felt grateful to Sonic the Hedgehog.
And I still am. (That doesn’t mean I have to like him. I mean rude is rude, right?)
I’m still outrunning him too by the way.
Where in your life are you angry and frustrated right now? How can you awaken the inner warrior to channel it into something more productive?