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Sunday, March 28, 2010

I Wish I Wouldn't Have Said That

As I age and attempt to gain some wisdom, I try to keep within my perceived limits. For me, performing these acts of restriction is very difficult. I have never been a person short with words or long on patience. My nature is definitely affected by my environment and prone to change dramatically with moderate stimulation. I realize such a condition is not ideal for certain stressful situations; however, often things tend to draw me toward the middle of controversy.

I guess one might say my mistakes too often mix with my successes. I am not proud of my miscues in any way. Still, I try to stay within my limits of positive production and use my best abilities to pay penitence for wrongdoings. When I misbehave, I try to make up for the bad judgment by helping others threefold.

I appreciate nothing more in life than an acknowledgment of my rashness and unwelcome interference as personal faults. I believe everyone has faults and these faults are part of the condition of being human. Many times I wish I would have overlooked faults in others by staying within my limits, yet tolerance, for me, can be difficult. I think I am no better or worse a man than others, just a man with different assets and shortcomings.

As I vocalize concerns and aggravations, the meek often hold their hands over their ears. For many years I have been asked to lead, organize, and make information discernible to groups of people. In doing so, I have overcome the fear of speaking my mind. And, in some respects, this so-called advancement is actually a noticeable hindrance. You can certainly say I "get under people's skin." The limit of this aggravating activity often gets lost in the heat of rhetoric and in the exchange of ideas. I am most certain I am liberal of thought, much more so than liberal of action.

Writers Hugh Dubberly and Paul Pangaro (Interactions Magazine, May 1 2009) reported, "Inherent in the capacities for a given conversation are the individual limits of its participants. Individuals contribute both what they know in depth and breadth and their style of interaction. Given a specific group of participants, conversations may go nowhere—they have no value; they create no lasting change in the participants. Other conversations create their own energy and go places—they are generative, have momentum, and lead to new and unexpected knowledge."

I often initiate topics perceived by others as boring because they lack colloquial, gentle content. I enjoy discussing issues, philosophies, and topics some people consider inappropriate. I enjoy the idea exchange in such talks, preferring this experience to simple chatter or daily pleasantries. I even enjoy being the Devil's advocate and drawing opposition. Perhaps, I often exceed my limits of proper discussion and curious inquiry. In doing so, I expose my faults of social etiquette. Certainly, any qualifications for my sainthood have been dismissed years ago.

I believe those who work as public teachers seldom leave a certain arrogance and purposely directed tone at the doorsteps of most conversations. I find myself looking for certain outcomes in simple discussions that, quite frankly, should not be considered at all. I have been educated to evaluate and measure the meaning in another person's words and actions. To withhold this judgment is within my limits but something I find very hard to control. The "teacher" usually gets the best of me and my peers feel as if they are back in the somber classroom.

The wide variety of words that I use to express my ideas get me deeper into problematic situations at times. Preferring to hear emotion and passion from others, I bend my diction with the circumstance. I know I emote and react with passion while many others seldom raise a voice or exceed formal standards. Again, I usually appreciate the variance of language and style in a group conversation or in argumentation, but many people cringe and insist such emotion is diatribe. I assure you I do respect the quiet person with great wisdom, but I am usually the one in the crowd trying to get he/she to extend their mighty metaphors.

For a person who loves words, I find social limits on content of expression to be very difficult to control. I often feel as if I am a mustang trapped in a corral of mundane, wooden structure when I speak about my interests with restriction. Still, the older I become, the more I realize limits are not only necessary, but imperative. Moderation in all things? I certainly respect this behavior. I wish I practiced moderate thought more. On the other hand, a flame involves rapid, intense combustion. That flame makes a small spark that can ignite a gigantic blaze. To what purpose am I best suited? I remain a fairly old dog who seldom learns new tricks well.

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