Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Inside Game

People feel the need to confess to me all the time that they are NOT good question "askerers". I think this is bizarre because the system is set up to be question friendly. We were made to question things (if you don't believe me, I'll let you borrow my 5 year old son for an afternoon).

If you don't like to ask questions, I have good news....there is a way to find out why.

I recently got to spend some time with a person who had gone through Alcoholics Anonymous. I questioned him about the 12 steps and how it felt to finish them. He responded that you don't ever finish them. That steps 1 through 9 are sort of baby steps and that he daily lives steps 10 through 12...even to this day.

I loved his explanation about step 10 which is to continue to take a personal inventory. He explained that the problem was never the problem. That if you ever get angry....if you feel hurt....if you are jealous...there's always a reason for the emotion. The personal inventory is a way to dig into what you are feeling and find out why you are feeling it.

I recently had an obnoxious case of sarcasm ( I know, I know...even more than normal.) My wife had become the prime target of my deep cutting sarcastic tongue. A few of my friends noticed and even called me out on it. I figured this was the perfect time to practice Step 10 and figure what was going on beneath the problem.

You know what I did...I just sat in silence and ran through my emotions. You know what happened - it worked. I think I got to the source of the sarcasm.

I only came to this conclusion after meditating on it, but subconsciously I have been feeling like my wife isn't hearing me.

Because of a big family wedding, we have been slammed with events. I have been spending a greater amount of time with our three kids and also more time with a stressed out wife.

I really like spending time with our kids (mostly I take them on city adventures, which includes eating lots of treats), so the time with them wasn't the problem.

A couple of weeks before my birthday the wife asked me what I wanted to do. And I told her I wanted to go on a date to a new burger place and then to a new wine bar that looked like a lot of fun.

Yes, family details got in the way and we had to scrap my birthday plans. I don't think I was hurt about the cancellation. I WAS hurt that I didn't feel like my wife heard the details of my fun date.

After my soul searching on Step 10, I figured out what I really wanted was for her to say, "I heard your idea about the burger spot and wine bar, and even though we have to cancel for Friday, I promise not to forget those fun spots you picked out."

Same thing with the busy family schedule. All I wanted was for her to acknowledge that, yes, we have a busy schedule this fall, there are lots of things on our plate, I don't have a lot of choice about what our schedule looks like and a lot of the weekend childcare is falling on me.

She immediately wanted to try and fix the problem and she said, "don't you want me to try and lighten up the schedule, maybe get you some help and cancel some events?" I think her problem-solving was part of the problem. My wife is such a good doer....she just moves on to the tasks, without fully hearing me out. I don't need babysitting help. I don't need a birthday party (To fully defend my wife, she was already working on a baby sitter for a make-up birthday date at my two new spots....she just hadn't told me).

I just want to feel like I've been heard. It's been a major revelation for me. I can pretty much move through whatever life is going to throw at me, as long as those close to me are listening.

By the way, I have also since apologized to my wife, as the sarcasm is not an effective way to communicate how you feel.

My personal problems aside, if you want to know why you don't ask questions -- there is a way to get an answer. It's called Step 10.

"Continue to take personal inventory, and when you are wrong promptly admit it".