I said “OUCH” after what Larry said to me

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When Larry surprised me this Easter Sunday morning on our way to church with a beautiful Lei, I flashed back to two years ago when he bought me a lei on our way to church.  While at the Easter service 2 years ago, the “scales from my eyes” were removed and my heart started to open up to him in a new way. It was a magical moment that I will never forget.

Prior to that time, I had no “romantic” feelings for Larry. He was my best friend and that is the way I wanted it. I love to be surprised and this was one of the biggest surprises of my life. Here was my soul mate right in front of me for 2 years and I didn’t see him. I know it was God’s timing and when we were both ready, the flood gates opened.

Trusting God’s perfect timing in all areas of my life gives me peace. As I look back over some of my major life decisions and choices, I know that if I was meant to do something sooner or faster than I did, I would have. There is no need to beat up on myself or shame myself that I didn’t do or know some things sooner than I did. To live in the present moment and to be grateful is all that matters. Everything happens for a reason and for my highest good.

I am so grateful that Larry and I were both open and willing to allow our relationship to grow to a new level because being together has truly been the best 2 years of my life. I feel so cared for and loved by Larry. And I love loving him.

One of the most important elements in our relationship is our ability to communicate openly and honestly with one another.  Larry and I love to laugh and we are always kidding around with one another. We both have a similar “quick wit” sense of humor and we play off of it.  We learned an important lesson this week about the possible “misuse” of humor.

We were driving in the car discussing an email we had just received about our blog and Larry said, “I don’t want to get a big head.”  I said, “You already have a big head.” He said, “Do you really think I have a big head?”  I said, “No, I’m only kidding.”  I really was only kidding, but how would he know that for sure?

I remember times in my marriage when my ex-husband would say something to me and when I reacted, he would say, “You are too sensitive, I’m only kidding.”  I didn’t know if he was kidding or if he really meant it. We didn’t have healthy communication skills and often expected the other one to read our mind and to know what we needed. There was an element of “sarcasm” in our family dynamics and I was often (unknowingly to them) the brunt of it.

After chatting about the possible “misuse” of humor and still wanting to be playful and joke around with one another, we decided to implement an “OUCH” system, if you will. Whenever either one of us joked around about something and it felt sensitive and we weren’t sure it was a joke or not, we would say OUCH.

This has worked well so far for both of us. Not only have I said “OUCH” when something Larry said didn’t feel good, but he has asked me after saying something that he wasn’t sure about, “Was that an “OUCH?”  With this new system, we can both be clear with one another about what feels good and what doesn’t.


Since Pat and I have been discussing negative humor and kidding around with one another, I’ve been thinking more about how our society supports negative humor.  I don’t know if women do this but for as long as I can remember (probably since I was a teenager) kidding around, making fun of someone else, being funny at someone else’s expense, (sometimes described as “ragging on someone”) has for many men been a way of life.

Strangely, this practice of ragging or teasing someone has become a way for us to communicate to them that we like them and accept them.  I think perhaps this practice when done to extremes can leave a residue, that left undetected, can become very negative and harmful.  There appears to be a very thin line between teasing someone and hurting someone emotionally or psychologically by what you say.  From the teaser’s perspective it may just be fooling around and funny but to the recipient it can be a very negative experience that can cause them pain and suffering.

As a young man I had a quick wit and sharp tongue.  There have been many times that I have used that talent, as a way to be funny and cause laughter, sometimes at another’s expense and I have hurt someone’s feelings. Realizing that it had become a very negative practice, I have gradually learned to keep my mouth shut (or at least think before I speak.) Here is an example:

Years ago, I lived at a condo resort in Kihei and was helping my former wife (who was the resident manager) with some of her duties.  I was serving pineapple to some of the guests around the pool area.  I had become somewhat friendly with one of the men at the pool.  As I approached him I said kiddingly, “I bet this beached whale would like a little pineapple.”  I was surprised when he refused.

The next day I was speaking to his wife and she told me he was very sensitive about his weight and was hurt by my comments.  WOW!  I really put my foot in my mouth this time trying to be funny.  I felt bad for causing him pain and embarrassment.  From my perspective, he wasn’t very overweight and I was shocked that he would be sensitive about that.  I sought him out and apologized for my insensitivity. He accepted my apology and that was that.  I learned a very helpful lesson and I’m more careful not to put my foot in my mouth and most times, to remember to think before I speak.

I believe it can be difficult for a person when they are on a roll to understand that what they are doing can be negative and hurtful to someone else.  Ego says things like “Come on I am only kidding. That’s really funny, what’s the matter with you? Don’t be so sensitive.  Can’t you take a joke?”

I know that Pat and I will never create an environment where we have to walk on egg shells around each other. We will cultivate an atmosphere where we can tease each other in a loving way. We will laugh a lot, not at each other but with each other.  When there is an “Ouch Moment” we will let each other know, talk about it and not allow a residue to develop into a mountain.

Love is always being willing to say “I’m Sorry.”

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

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