Have you ever walked by someone and said “Good Morning” or “Hello” and they totally ignored you? Or perhaps someone cursed you out while driving for no apparent reason? You go get coffee and the clerk sucks her teeth when you tell her you wanted cream and not milk? Or someone who is just a plain ASSHOLE to you that leaves you seething?
Do you remember how your blood boiled all day and you kept replaying it in your mind over and over? You recreate the conversation with all the “what I should have said was…” or “damn why didn’t I say this?” Well, chances are while you’re still seething and brewing and mulling it over, THAT asshole has long forgotten YOU.
Several reasons why people behave this way: (here comes my list, LOL)
- Some people are just so self-absorbed that they don’t even realize how their words and actions or indifference affect those around them. I mean like the moment is all about them.
- Some may just think it was no big deal how they treat others
- Others have tons of excuses to justify their behavior – I’m not a morning person, I haven’t had my coffee yet, I’m cranky (insert eye-rolling here)
- And then some people are just natural-born assholes who are angry and cranky at the world..ALL THE TIME!
But you can best believe by the time you finally let it go, they have gone on to ruin several others people’s moods and YOU my dear have long been forgotten.
True story – A few weeks into my present job, I went to the copy room late morning. Now by now I had learned never to go to the copy room without paper, because by that time there is usually no paper. This day I forgot, but my classroom is literally one classroom away.
OF COURSE, the copier ran out of paper. It was 8:23 a.m. I pick up my class at 8:25 am. So assuming the teacher would go get paper to finish HER copies -(it’s what we all do), I ran to room, got the little bit of paper I had and came back.
Well! She apparently thought I was going to office to get paper for HER…which I totally would have, had I not needed to get my students. This is how it played out:
She looked up (no smile, no pleasantries) and asked, “Did you get paper?”
I looked down and said, “Yes, I went next door and grabbed what I had.”
She inched past me STARING IN MY FACE and said or let out a- “GARRR or GRR.!!” shook her head and went to get paper. I waited, she came back, finished her copies…and on her way out I said:
“Have a good one!” Clearly no response.
I was a little taken aback. Actually, I was a lot taken aback. Here I was the new kid on the block and everyone else is welcoming me, but this teacher clearly wanted to take me out! (And not out to dinner!)
Anyway, I seethed for about thirty minutes, maybe a little more. Replaying it over in my head. Thinking about what I should have and could have said. Seething some more.
And THEN I suddenly remembered Don Miguel Ruiz’ 2nd agreement from his book The Four Agreements – DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONAL!. This is one of my FAVORITE, if not all-time favorite, of any and all spiritual growth books I’ve read.
Don Ruiz says that people’s behavior or treatment of us has nothing to do with us! It’s all about them. When we take things personally, we create mountains out of mole hills. When we take things personally, it hurts us more than it hurts the offender. When we take things personally, we are taken out of our zen. It shifts our focus from the present moment, to replaying the incident in the past, when there is absolutely nothing we could do about that long past moment.
Despite this teacher’s clear animosity, (she continued to snub me in the hallway, when I dropped kids off, in the office) I had let it go, (that day) I had not given it a second thought and continued to greet her, each and every time I saw her. Cricket, cricket, cricket…
It took exactly almost 2 months, 2 MONTHS!!! (who does that??) before she smiled at me and said, “Hey, how are you?” out of the blue one day. I responded most naturally even though inside, I was like “oh Wow”.
We are now buddy-buddy meeting at the copy machine sometimes, I’ll offer her paper and she asks if I have a lot of copies. We joke about getting another snow day or how we are now down to 53 school days! Friends. Wa-la!
The thing is goodness knows what the heck was going on that morning with her. Maybe she got into a fight with her husband, maybe her kid had broken curfew, maybe she just woke on the wrong side of the bed. Who knows? I surely didn’t.
I could have held on to that grudge and let her trigger a bad mood every SINGLE time I saw her. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for that. I have too many positive things going on in my life to worry about why this woman gave me the death stare over paper one day.
I chose to let that go, because at the end of the day I can not and will NOT give anyone that much power over me and my mood. I will NOT allow anyone to shift my focus. I will NOT allow anyone to make me into an asshole too!
So remember when someone speaks to you poorly or is not very nice or kind to you- DON’T TAKE IT PERSONAL– it has NOTHING to do with you.
Thanks for stopping by!!