A few weeks ago my wife and I were running errands. We had been to several stores and were deep in conversation when we were finally entering Barnes and Noble. There was a nice guy holding the door open for us, as he was leaving.
I was seriously deep in conversation with my wife when we walked through the door, and didn’t think twice about him.
As I walked through the door he shouted “YOU ARE WELCOME, A-HOLE!”
I was totally shocked. His 15 year old son looked totally shocked and embarrassed, too.
He continued to walk towards the parking lot, shaking his head, and complaining loudly that my wife and I didn’t even acknowledge his good deed.
As I was trying to make sense of what just happened I thought “man, if he was waiting for a thanks, which we should have given him (but didn’t), he was holding the door for the wrong reason. He should have relished in giving the service and not been offended at the lack of (expressed) appreciation.”
I couldn’t believe he was SO offended, and that our lack of reaction caused an eruption from him.
I thought: how juvenile for him to let our actions dictate his reaction.
As I thought about all of this I found my own reaction getting uglier and uglier.
And then I realized I was letting his actions dictate my own reactions. My mood changed, all because of him.
While I didn’t want his reaction to change my demeanor and affect the pleasant afternoon with my wife, I could see myself slipping into a bad place.
With a lot of effort, I tried to push him, and that event, out of my mind, and be back with my wife.
It was hard, but I knew that I couldn’t let him ruin my day.
Many times things happen to us, but they don’t have to dictate how we react. How we react is OUR choice.
Don’t let someone, or something, make you worse, even for a minute!
(Yes, I’ll be working on this idea for many, many years :))