I previously called out my own contemptuous behavior (judging someone’s drink order) as is only fair. But that was not the only concern of the day. Another core value I have relates to verbal abuse toward other more vulnerable individuals. If someone who cannot speak up for themselves is being harangued, I believe this: when you see it, say something. This young barista was not in a position to call out the customer. She has no doubt been trained to remain calm and polite. But I am not the barista. I can remain calm and speak up. Politely. I do not make apology for my attempt to interrupt his treatment of a young woman working hard to make my morning caffeinated.
We humans are complicated and our scattered internal processing often competes for our attention. I was initially distracted by my own inventory taking (necessary and good work to do). I am keenly aware that I am not able to perfectly execute my own principles in thought, feelings and action. But we can all have this going for us: we can notice when we are thinking thoughts, having feelings, taking actions that are incongruent with our core values, and acknowledge the problem. Consider this a given.
But I have a second point: Our problem in one area does not excuse us from acting courageously in another area. Those are two separate issues. In other words, I can never be so afraid of my own imperfections as to use them as an excuse to collapse in upon myself and give up.
I can notice my judgy attitude about the guy with the complicated drink order and know that I have a process for dealing with that in the future AND actually do so. I can also stay present in the moment and not get so caught up in the concept of contempt that I fail to notice that this dude is actually behaving abusively toward a young, vulnerable, female.
Do you ever get so distracted by your thoughts and ruminations that you are unable to appropriately attend to the present moment? If so, it really helps to have a process (like the 12-steps) and a tribe to report back to that you have confidence in. That way, when we see something we want to work through personally, we can take note of it and address it later.