This topic is very dear to my heart as I have seen it happen over and over again, spoken to people about it and had slight difference of opinions, yet it still remains true.
To ilustrate this properly, I will start with something that actually happened to me.
Tuesday was a very busy day at the office. I spent almost all day running from one meeting to the other and as a result, I developed a slight headache. Knowing that I had two more meetings to attend before close of business, I decided to go into Boots pharmacy to get myself some packs of Paraceutamol. I had 10 minutes to get there, buy the drugs and get back to my meeting. On arriving at the pharmacy, I tried to find the Paraceutamol on the shelves but to no avail.
At some point, I remembered seeing them at the counter close to the cashier. So, I walked straight there, picked up two packs for good measure and gave the cashier a 10 pound note. She had an impassive face which I concluded was just her nature. I looked at her name badge and continued waiting for my change. To my surprise, she almost tossed the coins at me, this led to some coins falling out and she did not offer any apology for her behaviour. I looked at her and saw her arranging some imaginary change.
Knowing Boots customer service level as superb, i felt that she was very wrong. Surely, I had not treated like a valued customer. I had three options at that point, 1) Leave the fallen coins right where she dropped them and walk away to register my annoyance. 2) Report her to her supervisor for not treating me as a valued customer. 3) Walk away.
I took one last look at her and saw that she was still counting her imaginary change with her head was still bowed, I picked up my change and walked away.
As I walked out of the Pharmacy, several thoughts crossed my mind. “Was she racist?”, “Could I have reported her to her supervisor?”, “Could I have told her off?” and so on. As these thoughts kept going through my head, I found myself getting upset and even angry. My day started getting gloomier and the headache started getting worse. “How could she almost toss my change at me and not apologise?” I thought.
It was at that point I stopped my thoughts and reasoned, “What if she is having a really bad day?”, “What if her boyfriend/husband annoyed her”, “Do you know what else she may be dealing with?” and most importantly, “Do you want to get yourself worked up over because of someone who is clearly unhappy and ruin your day as a result?”.
As these new thoughts passed through my mind, I found myself getting calmer and even happier. Then I remembered something my Dad told me years ago whenever I overreacted, “Chikamso, do not lose your head”. At this point, I noticed that my mood had changed from being upset to very amused. I looked at my wristwatch, saw I had 5 minutes to my meeting and hurried along.
Almost every day we start our days very happy and jolly but encounter people who treat us in a manner that should upset us. Most times we let ourselves get annoyed, react and even overreact. The result of this overreaction is that our day becomes effectively ruined.
This is because; you may start to feel bad for your overreaction or even worse for not reacting at all.
What has happened is that you have let someone else’s bad day to affect and influence your day. Perhaps if you could step back when you feel those angry thoughts forming, identify the source of these thoughts and consciously decide to have a good day regardless.
Perhaps if you could learn to bite your tongue for 10 seconds before reacting and think about why the other person must have acted in the manner he/she did.
Perhaps you would think a bit more clearly and continue to have a good day regardless of however anyone else has acted towards you.The peace that comes from knowing and doing this is so amazing. Try it, it works.
Have a great week and weekend ahead
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