I showed up ten minutes early for the meeting and poured myself a cup of coffee. I sat down and took a sip. I didn’t like it. So I walked back to the kitchen and dumped my entire cup of coffee down the drain.

“That bad, huh,” said a woman who noticed what I had just done.

Cue: deer in headlights.

“No no no! Not at all!” I replied in a high pitched nervous voice. “I just put the wrong kind of cream in it and I think I just want tea instead!” and I kept going, continuing to explain myself and make up nonsense about why I poured my coffee out.

I walked back to my chair and sat down with my tea and thought, “WHAT on EARTH was THAT?”

The spiritual work I’ve been doing has helped me become more aware of my behavior, and situations like this reveal so much. Soooooo much.

Fear is a powerful motivator. I’ve been wanting people to like me my entire life: I’ve always been so scared of being disliked.

Maybe the woman in the kitchen thought the coffee was bad, too. Maybe she made the coffee. Maybe she had an opinion about me pouring out my coffee. Maybe she was offended. Maybe she wasn’t. None of that matters.

It’s not my responsibility to make her feel comfortable. It’s also my responsibility to not be a jerk.

I didn’t do anything wrong and I wasn’t a jerk. But I did lie - in a sense - by being dishonest.

I could have just smiled and said, “yep.”

Being honest with myself about how I act has helped me be more forgiving of myself, and others.

People say sideways things, and instead of getting defensive, I remember this… Maybe they’re acting from fear like I sometimes do. Maybe they’re scared, maybe they’re angry, or maybe they’re just being a jerk, like I sometimes am. 

Casting stones, holding on to resentments, being offended, and trying to control people is exhausting and empty.

It’s part of the darkness I’m leaving behind. It’s the sand my house used to be built on. There’s no hope for a house built on sand. 

This time, I’m setting up on a rock.

We’re all just doing our best and we all have our stuff, and if we aren’t jerks to each other we don’t need to apologize. And if we are jerks to each other, we can apologize and make it right and move on, because not a single one of us is perfect.

Especially this coffee snob.