Yesterday I faced a fear, it may not be a big deal to you but for me going to the dentist is a highly stressful endeavour. As a child I was graced with the challenge of little to no enamel on my teeth which meant years of visits to the dentist. Over and over I’d go to a specialist to have treatments, have fillings and experience the sounds, discomfort (often pain) and anxiety which have left me with a strong adversity to the dentist’s chair.
Yesterday I made it through my long put off cleaning (2 years over due) and was at the desk trying to make a follow-up appointment when I was greeted by an employee who instantly rubbed me the wrong way. I had nothing left, I’d faced my demon and was standing there in pain, anxiety on high alert, feeling as though I had no skin and my nerves were exposed.
As this woman snapped at me repeatedly about God knows what gaffe I’d somehow made without saying a word my level of ire rose. My inner Irish-woman was whipping condescending remarks out of the holster when a memory hit me.
Everyone Is Fighting a Hard Battle
Over 4 years ago I was in a car accident which had left me living with a brain injury which had me in a constant state of befuddlement. I was at a physio therapist office trying to book an appointment, only to be greeted by a clerk who took pleasure in treating me like an imbecile because I wasn’t understanding her. That day I let my inner-Irish out on her, I tore her a strip and left the office crying and feeling shattered.
My husband was with me and by the time we reached the car he had brought me back to reality by honestly telling me that I over-reacted and my rage was seriously concerning him. That day the lady was appalled at my reaction (as my husband told me) and in the end I didn’t feel vindicated nor did I feel any less anxiety.
I felt hollow and low.
Kindness is Freeing
Once I’d gotten comfortable at home I felt awful for the way I treated the woman, I had NO idea what was happening in her life or what battles she is facing. I had no excuse for the way I treated her and vowed never to do that to someone again.
Since then I’ve bitten my tongue more times than I care to recall, each and every time someone snubs me, rubs me the wrong way or outright is rude to me I am reminded of this past encounter and how I felt afterwards.
By simply being kind and pleasant to others, irrelevant of how they choose to treat me I’ve been able to move through each encounter with no regrets. In fact my positive attitude often rubs off. Yesterday I breathed deeply, put a smile on my face and went through the motions of answering the employee’s insurance questions (which were irrelevant to the situation) and we parted with smiles and no hard feelings.
Today I call to you, can you be kind to another person when its not warranted?
I hope you can….it’s liberating and can make the other person’s day.
This is how I live my life. I have decided that maybe my journey is to listen more than I speak (and I speak a LOT – so…).
It isn’t always easy, but this tongue biting you mention, I am sure has saved me time and again.
I really do try to think about what the “other” person might have going on. I’ll never know, of course, but usually when people are “extra crispy” there is a reason.
Ok Peady that’s brilliant. To listen more than I speak…that is how/when I learn the most.
What a great post Julie! I try to live this way and teach my children the same. We never know what that other person really is dealing with
It’s true Jessica and it’s only when I slow down I learn
Perfect timing! I’m 121 days sober and just started back to work after a 90 day suspension for drinking on the job. My roll is a bit different at my job so things I used to be able to do I can’t anymore. My wife is upset about my what I thought was an inspiring response to a text she sent and then I asked a co-worker for some help this morning and he snapped at me. So I began scouring the web for addiction blogs and found this one. In my alcoholic past I would have snapped back. I calmly said never mind I’ll find a way to handle the problem my self and I did.
Like I said perfect timing on the post.
John thanks for commenting, it means so much for me to be able to hear how a post affects someone. I am so happy you chose to handle the problem this way and WAY TO GO on 121 days sober
We all need to remember this, even in small things with our kids and spouse.
Chandra Christine O'Connor says
thats how I feel you never know whats happening to them. I actually post comments on peoples fb things when they are dissing another person saying we dont know the whole story. it drives me crazy. sometimes I cant believe the comments people say on a post. I will reply to the haters asking them if they either need hug or they have to poop.
yes i tell my kids that kindness is always the best option! it’s too easy to complain or be mean back. Kindness takes intentional thinking and there is always good coming from it!
Kathy Downey says
Kindness makes life easier,I enjoy reading the comments
Loved your post about turning the other cheek. I find it hard to bite my tongue too but I also do try to think that everyone is fighting a battle we have no idea about. I find counting to 10 and taking a deep breathe helps me. :)
Kristy. V says
Thank you for this important reminder. I try to spread light and love to others throughout my days :)
Sarah Schultz says
This is a mantra of mine. Just be kind, no matter how they treat you, as you never know what’s going on in their life. Your kindness may be life-changing for them.
Awesome post Julie
DARLENE W says
You never know what’s happening in others lives so be kind and thoughtful
Robyn L says
a great reminder for me; thanks;
I too can chew someone’s head off and have done so but that go back and apologize.
ahmen sista!!! thanks for posting this reminder <3
This is something which I try to do. The world would be a much better place if we all considered what others may be going through. Beautiful post!