To say that my psychiatrist husband, Jim (also trained as a surgeon and neurologist) is a Renaissance man is more than an understatement. It’s such fun having my own private consultant with such vast knowledge, insights and wisdom.
But the most fun, is sharing new ideas, discoveries and humor that we discover in the world and periodically combining our thoughts into speeches or articles. Recently we were celebrated the publication of a new book, ROADMAP TO SUCCESS, in which we co-authored a chapter, entitled “Know Thyself.” While discussing the need for self knowledge and self management in the work place, I referred to the actor, Alec Baldwin’s infamous conversation with his young daughter. (In a recorded cell phone exchange, he blasted her for some minor misbehavior, calling her among other things “a selfish pig.” It was all over the news for days.)
Our daily ritual is to share ideas and absurdities from whatever we are reading.
This morning, I picked up a popular magazine that I read periodically just to try to keep up with the 20 and 30- somethings. I read that Alec Baldwin’s greatest regret was “pretending to have a heart attack” in front of his wife and daughter. I said, “you couldn’t guess what this says about Alec Baldwin.”
He said, “that’s the one you included in your presentation, right?”
I nodded and then he said, “and the one I thought was a little inappropriate. What did he do this time?”
Feeling a little deflated, I read the paragraph to him and then said, “I didn’t know that you thought it was inappropriate. What was it that bothered you?”
He said, “I just think that it’s better not to let your own anger show when you’re trying to make a point. It might have been better if you had not mentioned his name but just told the story.”
“But, it wouldn’t have meant anything to those who didn’t know who he was,” I said, pleased that I was not feeling defensive, at least not much. “That’s an interesting point, I continued. I hadn’t thought about my own anger being so apparent as to obscure my illustration about how a lack of self management can be destructive.”
After he left for the hospital, I sat and pondered this conversation. First, why did Alec Baldwin become a target for so much anger on my part? And I was furious when I first saw the cell phone incident featured on the news. Now that I think about it, I remained furious. Why?
My first thought was to trace it back to my thirty plus year career in child welfare, leading organizations whose mission it was to protect children. From abuse. Including verbal abuse. My outrage was probably about how much this must have hurt the daughter at age 13.
Then I realized that it doesn’t really matter as much why I was so angry as the fact that I didn’t recognize the feeling and therefore didn’t manage it. At least not in a way that would effectively accomplish my goal.
So much to be learned. So little time. But with a little caring help from my best friend, I made a little progress today. Thanks, Buddy!