OFF THE HOOK
What was going on in my head is what happens to most people when we get a result we don’t like – we blame. It’s THEIR fault, not ours. It never has to do with us. And we think like that because it gets us off the hook for our own bad behavior. Then we walk around mad, blaming whatever we don’t like on someone or something else.
But here’s the catch: your results are caused by what you think. Not just influenced, CAUSED. And if you’re walking around pissed off and thinking people are jerks, what kind of result do you think that’s going to produce? Back at the pharmacy, the result I was looking for was better service. It is very unlikely that I would have gotten that result by acting out and being a jerk to New Girl.
Now, I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t be held to account. That’s super important. Could she have done a better job? Sure. But the point is that I could’ve done a better job, too. WAY better. The truth is, I lost my patience in the long line and allowed myself to become annoyed. Then I lashed out at New Girl and blamed her for my own bad behavior.
But my behavior is my own to deal with. I’m the only person who can be held accountable for how I want to show up in the world. Do I want to be that impatient, snarky customer who ruins a new employee’s day? Certainly not. So I decided to do something about it.
TURNING IT AROUND
I made a u-turn, and headed back to the drug store. I walked up to the counter and came face-to-face with New Girl, who looked at me like a deer in headlights. Oy. That’s exactly what I came back to fix. I said, “Oh my god, I am so sorry! And I came back to apologize to you, you did not deserve my wrath, please forgive me.” And she gave me a big smile, and said it was alright, and also apologized for the long wait. I instantly felt better, and I could see she did too. Poof: I had transformed myself from Crazed Customer back to being The Best Beth. It was that easy.
Next time you find yourself in a situation like mine, where you are convinced that someone is being a total jerk, I urge you to take a step back and consider a different perspective.
Ask yourself what, if anything, you might have done to create this situation. What could you have done differently so that the other person would have to respond accordingly?
There is an alchemy that occurs in all relationships – any single element you add will inevitably cause a reaction and alter the outcome. Set a standard for who and how you want to be in your interactions, regardless of what’s going on around you.
Suffice it to say, the old me would NEVER have driven back to that pharmacy to apologize for losing my cool. I’m not just proud of the way I owned up to my behavior with New Girl, I’m proud of how far I have come in my own quest to be nicer and more patient. I’m not perfect, but today I’m a way better Beth than I’ve ever been, and that feels awesome.
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