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.