week #11 in an experimental year…

One of my rituals for each new year is to choose a word to influence me for the year.  My word for 2011 is EXPERIMENT. To support my EXPERIMENTAL focus, I commit to post the results of a new experiment each Sunday of this year.

Yowza this one hurt.  And I didn’t even see it coming.  Here’s what happened.

I was chatting with a friend.  She mentioned she’d just had a tooth pulled.  Then I needed to share that I’d recently had THREE teeth pulled.  She said, ” Ouch, you trumped me by two.”

It hit me.  I didn’t MEAN to trump her.   Just when I THOUGHT I was telling a story that related to hers, I realized I was actually telling one to steal from hers.  Something in me needed to ‘best’ her.  I hate I did that.

I’m not still beating up myself over it.  I am acutely aware of it though.  So for this past week I’ve done my best not to fall into the same trap.   I’ve even made up a name for the trap .  I call it the “let me show you my scar” syndrome.

I have to admit, it hasn’t been easy.  I’ve been more than a little amazed and humbled by how often I  had to stop myself from telling a ‘better’ story.   At least I had the courage to admit it – once.

Years ago I heard Fr Richard Rohr say that he used this filter when speaking:

  • is it true?
  • is it loving?
  • and is it necessary?

Wish I could promise I’ll keep up this experiment.  I can promise I’ll be more mindful of IF and WHEN my showing off my scars makes it through those filters Richard mentioned.

What kind of chord/if any does this experiment strike with you?

13 thoughts on “week #11 in an experimental year…

  1. I have friends and acquaintances that I love dearly, but who seem to always know more than I do about any subject or have either had something worse/better happen to them or someone they know (that I don’t). On the right days, it is very frustrating. But most days, I just try to brush it off. And in the rare few, it is so often and annoying that it actually makes me limit my contact with them.

  2. I can relate very well with Jennifer and with you as well, Lisa. I too have friends and even with people I have just met that seem to gravitate toward that “scar syndrome”.

    What is most frustrating is when I initiate the conversation and before I can finish my story, I am interrupted by their story. Usually though, their story is much more interesting than mine. I guess I’m just not a good story teller, so I like Jennifer just try to brush it off.

    I believe there is some kind of “OneUpManShip” in us all. It takes a special kind of person to politely let it go and choose the more “TRUE, LOVING AND NECESSARY THINGS.

  3. I’m with Pam… I think we all suffer a little bit from “let me show you my scar” syndrome. And like Jennifer, we also received the “brush it off”vaccine. Unfortunately, there are times when the vaccine wears off and needs to be rejuvenated. And there are some folks who were harder it with the syndrome than others.

    I really like Fr. Rohr’s lenses: true, loving, necessary. I need to use them more when speaking with and commenting to others! I’m thinking those lenses will help me focus more on my conversational partner than myself.

    Thanks for sharing your experiment, Lisa.

  4. Jennifer, Pam and Judi~
    i appreciate your letting me know this experiment DID strike a chord with you. ‘the scar syndrome’ is a very clever virus indeed. thank all that’s good for vaccines and lenses ~ and our ability/willingNESS to choose to use them :).

  5. Uh – oh. don’t love it when I get it, or when I catch myself giving it – btw, very funny segment of “MOdern Family” where Phil goes to a spa (long explanation) and the women there tell him what he is doing to make his wife so angry with him – she tells him something and then he hears it as a problem and he offers a solution. all the women said – uh uh – she wants to know you HEARD HER. hummmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  6. I always have to stop and think (in my better times) that when someone always needs to top your story, it just means they need more attention. If I’m not running at a constant deficit of attention, why do I need to top anyone’s story? If I’m not running at a constant deficit, why do I need to appear smarter than anyone else? And if I do find I AM running at a deficit, it makes me stop and get down to the reasons why.

  7. Tom-Interesting that your thoughts were included in the Lenten discussion I attended last evening. Also included was the question: Why do we as humans always feel we have to be right?

  8. I know the feeling of knowing someone who always needs to top a story, and I SOOO hope I am not the one doing it unconsciously upon occasion. I do know, however, that sometimes I want to show empathy for someone in a particular situation, and so I might say something like, “Oh, I know what you mean…” and go on from there to tell my story. Hopefully, it results in the first person saying something like, “Yeah, yeah! That’s what I’m talkin” about!” I like it when someone shares their experiences that are similar to mine. It gives me confidence that I am not SO weird after all. I guess one just has to be sure the right intention is there—-one to create fellowship rather than one-up-man-ship—and to deliver it so that it is heard as intended! Maybe the “one-uppers” have good intentions, but make mistakes in the delivery? If they are trying to get attention to make themselves feel better, I suppose we should hope that somehow they will find true support and fulfillment someway, someday, so they will no longer feel the need to tell a “topper”. In the meantime, thanks for the advice on a filter!

  9. Carol ~ loved that Modern Family episode!

    Tom & Judi ~ that mention/attention to deficit levels helps a lot.

    Roger ~ AMEN!

    ML ~ couldn’t agree more, INTENTION is the gig.

    thanks to you all for sharing your perspectives!

  10. OMG – just realized that I do this. Yikes!!! Thank you, dear one, for making me aware of my own “here’s my scar” tendencies. Note to self: zip it, Pickett!!!

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