You know what word I have written an alarming number of times in the last year?
And also Jackassery and Jackassness.
Yes, I like to make up words, but this is a brilliant way to describe a lot of behaviours. I am the one pointing all of this out, but don’t think it’s because I am some magical non- jackass unicorn: I assure you I am not. I am just willing to call it out, and do what I need to correct my course.
There are many places where I see Jackassness:
In my work: when coaches start charging double and triple their rates in some sort of pissing contest to make clients prove they want to invest in the work, it feels like Jackassery to me. I won’t do it. Even eight years into this, I am still quite an affordable coach, and I intuitively charge what the work with any given client feels like it wants to be. It’s a little woo, but it works for me. When I do find myself more concerned with the invoice than being of service to the beautiful humans in front of me, I often apologize and bring it back to a place that feels right.
In traffic: I have a real strong value around fairness and consideration, so when some JACKASS cruises up the shoulder to get a car length ahead of me, or isn’t bothering to pay attention at a stoplight when it turns green, I often get a little incensed and let it get the better of me. I have also been the jackass in this; I’ve blocked an entrance to a parking lot while creeping along in traffic, and when the guy who couldn’t get into said parking lot asked me what my problem was (I am paraphrasing some very colourful language, here), I joined him in his anger and flipped him off. I know. I’m such a nice human.
In my friendships: many years ago, seemingly before I had a compassionate bone in my body, a dear friend of mine lost her dad, very suddenly. I was heartbroken for her, obviously, but you know what I said to her when we spoke weeks later? “I was disappointed that you didn’t call on me to support you in that.” Ouch. Jackassery. Right there. I quickly realized what a jerk thing to say that really was, and apologized, but I think it was a thorn between us for a long time.
In my dog-parenting: there are days that are legitimately full, where I am coaching and in meetings, and dashing off to the gym and whatever else I have planned, and the poor dog, to whom I was a single dog parent for a long time, slips to the bottom of the priority ladder. On other days, I am not as booked up, but just a lazy Jackass, and all I make time for is a quick stroll around the neighbourhood. I can’t fool Baxter, who gives me a look that says he knows very well that I have time for an actual dog adventure (Jackass level? MASTER).
In my relationships: I could list off a few examples here…there have been times when I’ve been thoughtless, selfish, and just a complete Jackass. I have whined when I am having a bad day and my partner is dealing with stress and unable to drop everything to appease me. When plans have changed because of a family or work obligation for my mate, I have been passive-aggressive in my disapproval.
Trust me, there has been plenty of Jackassery.
I think the key is what we DO about it. It’s in the recovery. I used to work for a fairly large rail tour company and I loved the mantra for any sort of SNAFU or chaos that disturbed the guests’ pleasure: “It’s all in the recovery.” Damn straight. The value lies in how it’s actually left.
I love that I get to apologize and make it right. I love that I get to be vulnerable and get closer to the people around me as I pull open my super-hero costume just a little and show my human-ness. Yes, it’s been hard, I won’t sugar coat that, but because I have been willing (not always, but a lot of the time) to call myself out, it’s worked out well, after all.
Sometimes we don’t get to make it right, as happens when I am in traffic beating myself up or hating on the people around me. That’s when I say say to myself, “Look at that lovely human, doing the best they can.” It helps. Sometimes.
So here’s my TinaO invitation this week: notice your Jackassery and then own it. Make it right somewhere. Try saying this: “I’m sorry. I was a total jackass earlier and it was not my intention. Can we have that conversation again and I’ll be nicer?”
Let me know how it goes, okay? I’ll be busy taking the dog on an adventure and making some apology calls.
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Tara Caffelle is a Relationship and Communication coach. She is passionate about creating connected, almost-uncomfortable-to-watch relationships that are based in Sexy Communication and Big Lives worth rolling around in.
Tara is based in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver and offers custom-designed coaching programs. To claim your free 90+ minutes and see what might be possible for your own super coupledom (or persondom), find a time here.
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