What to Do When You’ve Been a Jerk

No matter how evolved you are, you are not perfect! No matter how evolved you are, you make mistakes. And no matter how Zen you are, you have upsets, just like the rest of us. You get triggered and act like a jerk, just like the next guy. You might not do it often or you might find yourself doing it every single day. Many people do get triggered every single day. What do we do when it happens? Usually we beat ourselves up or blame the other person or circumstances for our upset. But, even when we blame our partner or the kids or the guy in traffic or our boss or the president, we still, in our hearts know that it’s US who got upset and lashed out and was a jerk, however large or small our jerk-dom was!

Do you feel guilty and ashamed when you act like a jerk in one way or another? Do you try to justify your behavior by saying, “Well, of course, I was a jerk, because you/he/she did such and such!” Do you dive into self-beat up? And end up doing self-destructive behaviors and thinking self-critical thoughts? What are some of the self-destructive things you might be doing when you know you were a jerk? Well, you might eat sugar. There is an absolute pandemic of this in our society. We eat sugar to celebrate, to escape, to cover up, to drown our sorrows. Or you might drink alcohol or gamble or drive recklessly or watch too much TV. You might snap at your partner if you are upset with your boss. You might sleep too much or too little. You might just berate yourself and feel awful about who you are being. You might withdraw from whatever support system you have, or you might convince yourself that you have no support system. Generally, it’s easiest to pretend that you weren’t a jerk, but it will make you feel so much to acknowledge that you were, IF you can be compassionate with yourself and IF you clean up what damage you did to the best of your ability.

Let’s start with having compassion for yourself! You are not alone and you are not meant to be perfect. Be understanding of your ego reactions and take a breath. Be kind to yourself, while being accountable for any harm you have done. Clean it up and learn from it and move on. Use the powerful amends process developed by Beth Green (you can find it here https://youtu.be/5CIk8OcJock). No one WANTS to make amends, but if you do it, I promise you and all those around you will feel so much better!

Then, do something you feel good about. And remind yourself that you are growing and smile.

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