Some days, it's difficult to remember any of the wisdom or insight Mister Rogers provided me. Today is one of those days.
I had a terrible argument with a loved one this morning. Mister Rogers always said he swam a little bit harder when he was angry. All I could think to do was as many push ups as possible. It didn't help very much.
The whole way to work, I tried to imagine how Mister Rogers would advise me to proceed, to manage the conflict, and to resolve it. I though of him, of my conversations with him, and all that I've learned since, but I couldn't hear his voice over the torrent of blood pumping through my head.
That's the real trick, I think: to not only find those voices within ourselves, but to act through them, like muscle memory -- even when the chips are down. In a moment of rage, though, when I feel beat up, bludgeoned, and betrayed, all I want to do is lash out.
Mister Rogers might suggest that I start with saying that I'm angry, or using phrases like, "I feel angry when..." or "It hurts my feelings when..." But those advices don't seem to apply to complicated, adult, messy conflicts.
When I feel this way, when I can't manage depth and simplicity in my own life, I feel incapable of executing Mister Rogers' challenge.
I know that the answers will come. But I wish I could just call him and ask.