Walking the Walk

I write a lot about not letting other people’s opinions throw me.  I need the rest of my life to make this particular change — for much of my life I depended solely on the opinions of others.  My feelings about myself were more than negative.  They were positively negative.  An example:  I didn’t believe I was a bad person, I was positively, irredeemably bad.  I thank the Universe, my psychologists, my sister S., and a huge group of family and friends who stayed with me and supported me while I worked on this important lesson.

This week I got an opportunity to put that new skill to a test.  On Monday last, I was addressed with profanity and great anger by both my next door neighbor, and one of our maintenance men.  In both cases, I could easily have been at fault, but the truth is I did nothing to deserve this treatment in either instance.  I managed not to burst into tears with my neighbor, because I thought he might have deeper reasons for not possessing control over those feelings.  He apologized yesterday, very sincerely and sweetly, and I was able to tell him, truthfully, that I didn’t take what he said personally.  That sure felt like a victory!

The encounter with maintenance was not so cut-and-dried.  Briefly, the story is:  I stubbed my toe, but didn’t bother to look at it — first mistake of a diabetic.  I was writing, when I noticed a sticky sensation around my feet — sure enough, I was bleeding all over the carpet.   Immediately, I grabbed the phone and called my landlady, because we had a scheduled inspection with bedbug-sniffing dogs this week.  I felt if I tried to clean up the mess without checking with her on products, I might be considered unprepared for the inspection.  She said she would talk to maintenance, and that I should concentrate on my foot, so I did.  Two maintenance guys arrived quite quickly.  I have not ever had a problem with either of these guys, so I was shocked when they came through the door, one of them swearing:  “Why should I have to clean up this f-ing blood.”  He ranted throughout the time they spent here, and I had to close myself in the bathroom for a few minutes, to get my anger and hurt feelings under control.

After they left, I called the landlady and told her what had happened, and she said she would talk to this guy.  All I could think of was him influencing the inspectors to refuse to pass my apartment during the inspection.  I asked her about that, and she said she didn’t think that would happen.  I got off the phone, and sat quietly for a space of time, thinking about my reaction, and how I let him get to me.   I decided I am not free of fear and anger about people in authority behaving like that.  I knew I would need to practice, in order to avoid the strong reaction I felt.  But then I also realized that, at least, I didn’t show him how I was feeling.  I kept that much in control, anyway.

Later that day, I met with my writers’ group, and I took a few minutes before to tell Darreby what had happened.  As usual, she gave me the greatest reaction — a giant hug.  That put my day back on track, so thanks, buddy!

I felt obligated to post this day’s events, as a caveat to all my posts about getting happy and not letting other’s opinions throw me.  Obviously, I would love to live that way all the time.  Realistically, I guess I did well to maintain as much control as I did.  For that I am grateful.


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