As you may have noticed, today’s post is in direct opposition of last week’s post where I taught you how to kill off your destructive side. Seems weird, doesn’t it? Almost seems like I have no concept of what I’m talking about on any given day, huh?
What you may also recall from last week was that I was big time torn over whether having a destructive side was a good thing or a bad thing. Since I don’t think I’m qualified to make that call in your life, I’m going to lay out both sides for you (between this week and last week) and it’s up to you to decide how you want to handle the annoying jerk who runs around ruining your life. Will you kill him or just cage him for later?
Like I said…your call.
Why your destructive side isn’t all bad
Our destructive sides really get a bad rap, but I don’t think it’s always deserved. Instead, I like to think of it as too sides of the same bratty coin. On the dark, murky side, you’ve got someone who can’t control their tongue and generally makes everyone dislike them – meaning they dislike you. But then there’s the shiny side…
Let’s say being outspoken – extremely so – is leading you down a path of self-destruction. Imagine that instead of using your words to pick at your friends and family, you channeled all that vocal power towards defending the people in your life. Or, maybe you use it for civic or charitable purposes.
How can that be bad?
This is the inherent problem of being self-destructive. The character and personality traits that lead you to ruin are the very same traits that could be used for the forces of good.
Let’s be honest, y’all…I don’t have a problem with the obnoxious jerk running around outside the grocery store trying to raise money to give homeless kittens to kids at an orphanage or the elderly at nursing homes.
Knowing when you’ve crossed the line to self-destruction
Let me add a caveat to that last statement: I don’t have a problem with someone being an obnoxious jerk in that situation within reason. The moment he follows me to my car to harass me about donating my spare change, I’m done.
My friends, there is a difference between being fired up about your cause and being psychotic about your cause. Therein lies the problem.
The trick to finding a balance is staying self-aware enough to know when you’re crossing a line. Actually, first the trick is finding or drawing the line. Then you can worry about dancing on the edge.
In my experience, knowing where the line is involves trial and error.
A LOT of trial and error.
Let’s have an example
Just to give us a little continuity between this week and last week – especially for those of y’all who can’t decide if you’re set to kill or cage yet – we’ll stick with the example of someone who’s critical of others. I think we can all agree that this is a trait we find unflattering in other people. It might even be a trait that drives us away from others.
But what if you could keep the critical eye without the harsh words?
If you can temper your words with caring, you might actually be able to help people. Think about it…You already see what others are doing wrong in their lives. Once you learn how to wait for people to come to you for advice instead of dishing it out unasked, you get to become a trusted counselor instead of a nosy nag.
Killing it or caging it
Like I said in the beginning, this is your call to make. For me, I can’t kill off a part of myself – even the parts I don’t like – because it’s all a part of me. (This doesn’t go for my inner perfectionist though. She’s still on that device slowing dipping her into a vat of angry, mutated sea bass, possibly with lasers strapped to their heads.) For me, I always worry what would happen if I tie off a part of myself just a bit too tightly. Would I lose that feisty fire just when I need it most?
Ugh. Let’s not even find out. I’m not interesting enough to get any duller.
Granted, I don’t have any personality traits that are literally destroying my life. No addictions. No secret life. (Like I said, I’m BOR-ING.) If you have anything like that in your life, an aspect of yourself that you can’t keep in a cage without fear of it getting loose, your choice is made for you. You have to kill it. And you should probably kill it now.
So, cage it or kill it? And by the way, what’s your “it?”
© 2011, Jen Whitten. All rights reserved. Using content from The Positive Piper without permission will cause the Negativity Beast to attack. BEWARE!