Today, I got thrown under the bus. By a friend. And I’m walking around with the tire tracks imprinted on my soul. As a result of her action, I got chewed out at work by someone senior. And I have to say, I really don’t get chewed out. I’m generally well liked and considered a good attorney who does a thorough job. So this bus throwing business, and the repercussions, really caught me off guard.
I am sure there are people who take criticism better than I do. I’m actually confident of that fact. I take everything rather personally and I’ve been known to get defensive. Which is exactly what I did. I reacted in a way that could be much improved upon now that I reflect. In addition to not reacting particularly well to the bus-throwing/chewing out, I went a step further. I did a little smack talking. I called my mom and told her about this incident by a person I’d now labeled untrustworthy/disloyal (I’m big on loyalty). Then I went outside my office and complained to my assistant who I assure you has some serious crises going on in her own life and this must have seemed so incredibly trivial. I goofed off on the computer for a few minutes because I couldn’t get refocused on my work. In total, this one act completely knocked me off my game and created some behaviors that are the anti-thesis of Christ-like.
In retrospect, I have to ask myself why it so hard to apologize and take responsibility even if I feel it is wrongly allocated. Sure my friend should have come to me and said, “I think you should do this” or “I wish you would go about this differently,” instead of going to someone else (very senior) to complain, but what if I didn’t focus on her actions and instead focused on my own. Was there any merit to the criticism? Would it have added to his esteem of me if I had instead said, “I am sorry a situation has been created. Please allow me to do everything in my power to correct it until everyone is satisfied.” It certainly would have be a shorter answer. It probably would have been a more adult answer. And it definitely would have been an answer more in keeping with God’s commandment to act as the “salt and light” in the world.
I believe that my generation, and the generation younger than me, has been told that it is acceptable to avoid personal responsibility. That criticism is never constructive. That the buck can always be passed. Regardless of whether or not we believe that to be true in our heart of hearts, when confronted with an unexpected situation, those worldly messages often creep into our ultimate reaction. And if we’re listening to those messages rather than being steeped in the messages of our faith, then we fail when we react with anger, defensiveness, abdication of any personal responsibility, and buck-passing. The mirror’s glare has not been flattering today. I will work to do better. And as for being thrown under the bus, I’ll trust the Lord to heal those tire tracks on my soul.