I started my week in the worst possible way.

So I started this week in the worst possible way. Did I “sing in the morning”? No. Did I “leave things unsaid”? No.

Before I was even dressed, I lit into the Big Man about…well, it’s too boring and complicated to go into.

I marched right past the sticky note in the bathroom that reminds me, “Tender and light-hearted.” I completely ignored the admonition from my hypnosis tape: “You can make your points more effectively with humor and affection than with irritation.” I worked myself into such a fury that I forgot my commandment, “Lighten up.”

The truly ridiculous part is that I’m angry about what he’s going to do (or rather, not do) in the future—not about anything he’s done already.

I listed the things that he was going to fail to do, then I must confess, launched into a tirade that included those deadly fighting words that you are never supposed to say: “You never…” and “You always…”

Fortunately, we had to rush around to get ready, so I couldn’t continue too long. We did give each other a proper hug and kiss good-bye, but I felt terrible after he left.

I called him twice on his cell phone before leaving to take the Big Girl to school, but I couldn’t reach him.

When I got back to my desk, I tried him again at the office. No answer. Then I tried his cell phone again. He answered in a cheery voice.

“Can you guess why I’m calling?” I asked.

“Yep. I’ve been watching you try to reach me. I saw my office phone ring, and then my cell phone ring. I said to Dan, ‘Look, that’s my wife calling me, to apologize.’”

“Yes!” I said with relief. “I do want to apologize. I feel terrible. I called you before, too.”

“I know, I saw that you were trying to call.” We both laughed.

I’m so glad that I did apologize. I felt much better.

But part of my work for the happiness project is to avoid needing to apologize—to manage my feelings and my behavior so I don’t do anything that makes me unhappy, later—but since I had such a big slip-up, at least now I feel like harmony has been restored.

Other posts you might be interested in . . .

  • Happy Me

    Wow! I just started a new blog and I was looking through others and I just came across yours — love it! You write well and I can totally relate. I can’t wait to read more…

  • http://profile.typekey.com/bhiv/ Brent Doll

    “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
    or even more succinctly
    “No garden is without its weeds.” – Thomas Fuller.
    It is nice to hear the story about how you stumbled and recovered. I think we all can relate to not being perfect. In short; nice save.

  • Larry P

    Perhaps you need to come up with a 13th Commandment. How about, “Keep things in prospective”.
    Ok so it wasnt your finest hour this morning. But lets remember, if that is the worst thing that happens to you this week, its been a darn good week.
    You took the necessary steps to make amends and that is good. Meanwhile, dont beat yourself up over it. Just be glad it wasnt a REALLY bad start to the morning. You know a really bad start would be sick or hurt family members, accidents that leave scars forever, or storms that kill many.
    Sometimes we just need to be thankful for all we do have.
    Have a great week.
    Larry P

  • jim

    Hi, I love your blog.
    A suggestion: leaving an apology message allows others, who may still be working on their own issues, time to get in their own best spaces. Occupants of Mars may look at your sequence of communication attempts as a little aggressive, and if they aren’t ready to talk, may be thrown into conflict over the tension between their own needs to be in a cave, and the possibility that you are calling about some other, urgent item.

  • http://www.funchilde.com funchilde

    i luv this story. not so much the fighting thing, but the apologizing. i think its great to live life in a way that you avoid having to apologize, but even for the best of us (and the rest of us) that isn’t realistic. i believe that the truly magical part is the ABILITY to apologize. I agree that “you’re right” are two words more powerful than “i’m sorry” but not many people have the Emotional Intelligence to be able to use either phrase. Good on ya!

  • Chris

    I love your blog but yesterday I wondered about the reaction of your husband. To me it looks like a demonstration of power to have you calling several times, not to answer although he identified you, bragging about your apology at a person not involved.
    Is he teaching you a lesson or what?
    I hope I misunderstood and you both have a “forgive and forget” rule in place.

  • http://www.gretchenrubin.com Gretchen Rubin

    Hmmmm…perhaps there might have been the TINIEST bit of wanting to let me stew in my own juices on the part of the Big Man. but I don’t know, he does have a weekly meeting every Monday morning, so maybe he could see me calling but couldn’t pick up. I think, though, that I won’t ask…better not to know!