“Hey Joe why don’t you tell us how you really feel? “ I can not count how many times I have heard that question from so many people in so many situations. Usually it is asked after I really express my feelings and thoughts in a very powerful way that leaves no room for response. I admit sometimes I can be rather blunt and to some what may appear harsh. That is both a gift and a curse, in my younger years it was a curse as my lack of tact would quite often result in peoples feelings getting hurt and sometimes my lack of advancement in my career in some of the companies I have worked for. Honest and above board as my comments were they had an effect that was not necessarily in my best interest.
The latest incident was an opportunity to allow me to stop and reflect that question after hearing it for the first time in years made me think. Is it a good thing that people take what I say so personally and do I have the right to really speak my mind? Regardless when I am done there is no doubt as to where I stand on the matter when I am done “Telling you how I feel”.
A co worker and I were walking out to break and my co worker noticed a fellow workers safety glasses and gloves sitting in a common area where anyone could just take them. The person that left their glasses is an individual that gets stressed very easily, I feel he has a little OCD as he is overly neat and organized as well as somewhat of a spaz when things are out of order in his perfect little world. My partner was going to have a little fun and see how long it would take for Mr. Organized to snap. It was in good fun and not hurting anyone so I watched silently.
After an hour or so of watching Mr. Organized getting abused and stressed, walking around looking for his stuff, I had enough hearing the guys ask if he was just aimlessly wandering the hallways. I decided to share with him where his stuff was after all it was in plain site right outside of the elevator we were supposed to use. He should have passed it ten or so times. Well first of all Mr. Organized doesn’t use the elevator us common workers use, second the freight area is dirty so he would never leave his stuff there. I assured him he would find his gloves, safety glasses and his mental illness magazine sitting there.
He returned a few minutes later and thanked me for telling him where his stuff was. The magazine wasn’t his he wanted to let me know then he proceeded to let me have it for taking his stuff. He carried on for ten minutes and wanted me to know I didn’t have to take his stuff if I had a problem I should just talk to him about it.
I snapped and let Mr. Organized have it with both proverbial barrels so to speak. I let him know first of all that after working with me for a couple of weeks that he should know although I am funny I am not a practical joker. Then I really let him have it as far as talking to him about any issues I had with him or anybody for that matter. I am not scared of you why would you think I wouldn’t say what I had to say, I say what I want to say and everybody I have ever met will know that is true. You may be Mr. Organized and OCD but I am me and if I took your stuff I would have taken it right in front of you and threw it in the trash along with your accusation.
The funny thing about this entire situation is that my partner and I had just been talking about how yelling and being intimidating never accomplished anything other than resentment and destruction. I still have much work to do. I was nicer than I would have been ten years ago yet not on par with the wishes of my maker. So I choose to share how I feel and tell you all that I am ashamed that I let loose my feelings with out pausing to think about the way I chose to do so. I should have given Mr. Organized a hug and said sorry to get you worked up. It was just a practical joke to make you smile; I hope you will forgive me for my part in it. I am not sure how I may speak my mind and be doing the right thing sometimes I am however sure there are situations where speaking my mind troubles my conscience.
Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts and feelings with you. Real change starts with me and as I grow and learn change sometimes is much harder than I would have thought and requires more effort than I had imagined. All things good have to be earned and the dues paid, in the end however positive change is worth the price we have to pay. The person in the mirror is worth every bit effort.