Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We Get Upset Because we WANT to be Upset

Tonight, I went to get my hair cut (pictures to come later when I'm not so worn-out looking).  I was waiting in the salon for about 10-15 minutes because I got there a little early.  While waiting, I couldn't help but pay attention to a mistake that the receptionist had made.  What happened was two women went to pay for their appointments at the same time.  The receptionist, trying to take care of everyone quickly and help one woman get out the door faster, took two women's cards and then accidentally switched their cards.  As soon as she handed a card to the 2nd woman, the lady caught the mistake.  The receptionist, feeling horrible, ran out to the parking lot trying to catch the lady.  Unfortunately, she was not able to find her in time.  So she then went out of her way to find all of the phone numbers they had on file for the woman.  She called repeatedly.  All the while, the woman waiting with the wrong card was being exceptionally hard on this girl.  She kept loudly proclaiming, "She mixed up our cards" and then telling the girl how easy it would have been to not mix up the cards.  I felt for the girl because she really didn't mean to do it and it was clear she was beating herself up over it.  Combine that with the fact that the customer was beating her up for it as well and, by the end of the night, the girl was totally a mess over this situation.

It was such a small thing.  Anybody could have made that mistake.  And, I was thinking about how it wasn't THAT big of a deal.  If it were me, I'd just call up the bank, cancel my card and request a new one.  It takes a few minutes and then you have a new one within just a few days.  I'd leave the other woman's card at the salon and be on my way.  No biggie.  But I think what made it worse for me to watch was the fact that the receptionist clearly felt bad and was doing everything she could to rectify the situation having this lady treat her like a totally incompetent moron.  

A similar situation happened to me where somebody got upset with me over something that I honestly couldn't control.  A decision that I made, which was in the best interest of another person, ended up being an inconvenience for somebody else.  There was NO WAY I could have known that it would have done anything to anybody else.  And I did everything I could to ensure that I was considerate of everyone involved.  I'm trying to remain vague because I don't want anyone to be judged.  But, anyway, I digress.  An unexpected schedule change ended up causing my action to adversely affect this other person.

The change was last-minute.  I never could have predicted it, and I was wrapped up in taking care of very pressing matters with somebody who really needed my help.  I think what got to me was that I was treated as if I deliberately acted irresponsible in order to make this other person's day more difficult.  I didn't, and I would have tried to find a way to not have their day impacted that way if I had known how.  I kept reexamining it in my head trying to think of what I could have done differently.  And, you know what?  There was NOTHING I could have done.  This person was upset because something inconvenienced them.  There was nobody to blame, and no way to have changed the end result.  But, that FRUSTRATION..what do you do with it?  You have to focus it somewhere, right? Direct it toward whatever or whoever could possibly be blamed so you have some justification for your irritation.

But the fact of the matter is that we all do this.  I have been in traffic when I have gotten so annoyed with people.  And there wasn't anything they could do.  I was upset with the situation, and I didn't want to admit that I was really being quite silly and childish.  We don't like to admit when we really don't act as mature as we should.

So, I've started wondering now what if I took some action to change the way I view my reaction? Instead of saying, "This is so annoying because he or she or it...." I could be saying, "I'm upset because I'm choosing to be." I don't want to say I'm mad at nothing.  Why be so discontented, why? It doesn't change the situation and only makes you bitter.

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