Monday, January 19, 2015

Using What You're Given

I recently received some negative feedback regarding some aspects of my personality. As you might imagine, I reacted in a cool, calm, manner freaked out and indicated that the woman who had the audacity to talk about me in such a manner was, actually, a total loon and should consider, erm, recalibrating a portion of her anatomy.

Or two.

With the subsequent passage of time, however, I have reconsidered the criticism that was (less than graciously) handed to me. While I still believe that the exact commentary was completely unnecessary and whacked out, I do think that there is a kernel of truth buried waaaaaaaaaaaay in there, underneath the lunacy and flat-out inaccuracy of the original comment, and that kernel of truth is something that I do, in fact, need to work on.

It would have been easier to dismiss what was said. It would have been simple. It was presented secondhand – by a friend -- without the intention of having me do anything with it, but it occurred to me that something had to happen to trigger the remarks in the first place. Something took place to make Loopy Lou feel as though criticism was warranted, and that – that initial event – was worth examining more carefully. Was I guilty of the extreme—and weird – behavior that she had indicated that I had exhibited? Nope. So what had made her think I was? What would make her need to say something hurtful about me to someone else?

I stopped being mad (eventually) and started trying to think about this whole, ridiculous moment as an opportunity to think about people, how I interact with them, and how I could improve those interactions. I can’t control what other people say – no one can – but I can control what I do, and how I react.

The truth, I think, is that someone said something potentially hurtful knowing that it would get back to me, and likely with the intention of doing some damage. I choose not to be hurt or damaged, because doing so hands that person power that she doesn’t need or deserve. Instead, I’m going to use this to MY advantage – not hers – and take the opportunity to grow.

You can’t always choose what you are given. But you can always choose how you use it.

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