Angry–Do I Really Want To Sink That Low?
If You Have the Power–It's Only Because I Gave it to You
Several years ago I worked in a small management consulting office with a woman named Stephanie. When I came on board John, who I had worked with for years previously, expressed concerns about she and I getting along; which I thought a bit strange.
The first few months were fine; laughing, joking and helping each other out with various tasks we were working on. About 3 months in she stopped talking to me, totally out of the blue. There were no unpleasant words exchanged, no arguments, no nothing. I asked John if he knew what was bothering her – no. After a week I approached her and asked if I had done something to offend her; she told me she was busy, turned her back and picked up the phone. This was a small office and the tension was not conducive to what I consider a healthy working, team environment. A month later, I approached her again “Stephanie, if I’ve done something to upset you I apologize (I had no idea what) can we just please talk?” Evidently not.
I have no problem making or keeping friends. My close circle of friends include several relationships that have delightfully stretched over 30 years. I’m no doormat either, I could have easily torn Stephanie apart if I had wanted to, and been completely justified in doing it – like I had something to prove.
He who angers you conquers you
But here’s the thing – is that who I want to be? A vindictive, passive aggressive, angry and bitter woman? Call it the proverbial “high road” or whatever, I saw it clearly as an opportunity to make a better choice, not for her benefit - for mine.
If you have the power, it’s only because I gave it to you.
By giving her the power to anger me, I would be giving her control of my emotions and that just isn’t something I wasn’t willing to do; especially with someone who made little or no difference in my life. She was the one with the problem and she chose to be upset, and that’s ok. I think people like Stephanie are basically miserable and looking for a place to put it. I started feeling sorry for her.
Make It About You
So next time someone angers you; be it someone who cuts you off driving, a rude checker at the grocery store or a coworker – and you just want to get revenge, ask yourself “Is this who I want to be?”. In other words, make it about YOU not about them. Be the person you want to be, not the puppet on a verbal string. Be the person who doesn’t take it personally and recognize that they probably create all kinds of similar problems in their lives. Is that what you want? Picture a pinball machine with the steel ball bouncing all over the place nonstop with absolutely no control of its own. That’s what these people remind me of – being at the effect of everyone and everything. It must be exhausting.
So loose the I’ll show them attitude, and be the person you want to be - the more you do it the easier it becomes.
And trust me, you’ll feel great afterwards.