I think the biggest argument I ever got involved in was with a boyfriend in college who said I was irrationally stubborn. I know it doesn’t make any difference, but I didn’t then, and I still don’t see myself that way. But in retrospect, I may have proved his point. Maybe!
Several years ago one of the SATs I was teaching made it necessary to explain to the student the difference between righteous indignation and self-righteous indignation. If you look them up, righteous indignation is compared to a sense of injustice, anger over an insult, malice or mistreatment.
Self-righteous indignation is associated, according to some sources, as being more along the lines of egotistical behavior. An inflated value in one’s own opinions and beliefs. Subtle but strong differences between the two.
This is leading somewhere I promise. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve been dealing with insurance companies and medical bills. I’ll see if I can sum it up succinctly.
I’ll explain this as if it were an SAT math word problem. The doctor/hospital billed us a total of $1000 dollars, but gave us a $300 adjustment from insurance, thus making the bill $700. So I paid it. The following month they sent me a bill for the $300. When I questioned them they said, “Oops. We made a mistake, and you owe that $300 as well.” I just can’t see Harris Teeter chasing me down in the parking lot after I’ve already paid for my groceries and telling me “oops we undercharged you. You owe us $30 more.” Since that’s not the way normal businesses run, I did my research and filed an appeal.
Part of my research turned up a No Surprise Billing Act - which means they can’t do what they did to me. But their rationale was that the bill was enacted in 2022, and the date of service I was referencing was December of 2021. Enter Righteous Indignation. I stewed and fumed. “It’s not fair.” I said. Obviously, it’s not a fair practice or they wouldn’t have made it a law, and this fact alone made it harder for me to accept.
And then I had an epiphany, but it was not a feeling of euphoria accompanied by angelic harps playing in the background. Amidst the feeling of a rock in the pit of my stomach, the only sounds were my own growling and grumbling. But the difficulty of my accepting the facts didn’t make the truth any less true.
I needed to let it go. In the big picture, was it worth all the anger? Will I remember it in 5 years? (Well, yes actually. I feel pretty positive I will still remember it.)
When I went to pay the bill, I thought to myself, I’m going to pay this, but I’m going to write a note and tell them how unethical they are. And then I realized that is not “letting go.” Letting go is just that: letting it GO.
So I did. Well, I’m trying anyway. I paid the bill without a letter, without blowing off steam (except maybe the thinly disguised venom here.) I’m working on it.
My lessons this week have been:
It’s easy to preach the idea of letting go
It’s hard to actually let go especially when you know you are right
Doing the right thing even when the law doesn’t force you to, is not a trait everyone follows
And even though they aren’t ethical, you still have to let it go. As I am very obviously doing.
And next year I plan on letting that nasty remark from the old boyfriend go.