Friday, 20 September 2013 10:34

The Best Revenge is Living Well: How to Take the High Road in All Situations

By Gayle LaSalle | Families Today
Which are you? I tend to take a global focus while my administrative assistant is very detail-oriented. I don’t spend much time discussing a problem but like to get to solutions quickly. I have a colleague who needs to dissect everything first. I am most definitely a “glass-half-full” person but I’ve worked with those that see things the opposite way. Do I sometimes want to strangle each of these people? You bet! I’m sure there are just as many times they want to strangle me. It’s not about right and wrong, but differences. If you like other things about a person, some of the things just mentioned can be overlooked without too much trouble. However, what happens, when a person just seems to rub you wrong in so many ways? While it can certainly be difficult to work with a person who is so different from you or has habits that grate on you, it is even more challenging to have to deal with this in your personal life. It’s been said you can pick your friends but not your relatives. This is never truer than when you have one that you just don’t like – that makes you grit your teeth when they speak. And, while yes, we can pick our friends; we can’t pick our friends’ friends. This too can be a challenge. I have a friend who lives at a distance. I adore her and look forward to spending time with her. Sometimes, she is in town for a short time and wants to combine her friends into one event so she can see us all. Most of the time, this goes well. However, there are one or two of her friends who simply drive me crazy! So, what to do? Spend less time with her, or suck it up and tolerate those friends? Perhaps the most difficult is the in-law whose values you don’t share or whose personality just sets you off. It could be easy to be short with them or to even get into disagreements. Does this accomplish anything? Are they likely to change? Are you? Who really takes the brunt of this type of interaction? Likely, the person you love. There are no right or wrong answers to any of these situations. It’s also important to point out that this discussion is not about someone who is intentionally out to hurt you or who is outright abusive, in any way. It’s just about those really, really annoying people we all have in our lives. Here’s a common situation. A person cuts you off on your way to work. Or, the clerk where you get your coffee is rude. Or my favorite, some young “punk” that takes the last seat on the subway when you’re carrying an armload and pulling a computer bag. You’re already late, stressed from all the things that complicate our mornings when we’re too busy. Now, you’re steaming and want to tell someone off. Well, if you’re not overly assertive, you won’t say anything to the clerk. If you’re smart, you won’t get into a tussle with another driver (though you may find a gesture to let them know what you think). And, it can be unwise to make a scene in the subway. But, even when you get where you’re going, you’re still steaming. And, of course, your mood is not your fault – it’s just because that one person did something that upset you. You may find the first person you know and vent all over them. Or, if upset enough and have no one to vent to, you may just take it out on the first person who you come into contact especially if that person is one of those that annoy you anyway. Does this feel good? Well, it might at least for a little bit. Of course, depending upon whom you treated poorly, this may have caused a whole new problem. And, if you usually like to do the right thing and treat people well, you will feel bad about your own behavior. Now, step back a bit. Do you think the person who originally upset you even knows it, and if they do, do they care? They have likely gone on about their day with no further thought of you or the incident. But your day and that of the person you just dumped all over is not going too well. How could you have avoided all this? Well, staying in bed and not going to work is one answer (and at times, very tempting) but that choice has problems all its own. And, just about all we do is about choices. No, you can’t choose whether to be upset that just seems to happen – but you can choose how to deal with things, how much power to give them and what to do next. Say to yourself, “Will this possibly matter to me in 10 days, 10 weeks or 10 years?” If it won’t, then get over it. Let it go and don’t let a jerk ruin your day over something trivial. To do this you must be able to distinguish between trivial and important. In my book “Pearls From my Tante,” I shared my tante’s (aunt) perspective of the difference between a crisis and a pain in the tuchas (butt). “A crisis is life threatening or life-altering. Everything else is a pain in the tuchas.”
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