How often do you get frustrated with someone and think, “If they would just stop what they’re doing I would be fine; I could stop being resentful and feel happy.”
In the salon a few weeks ago I was shampooing a guest’s hair. I don’t see this lady often but enjoy seeing her when I can. She is an older woman that lives alone. I could tell that she seemed a little off.
I can tell you that not one person in the forty two years that I’ve been doing hair has complained about my shampoo, until (we’ll just call her) Ms. Crabby Pants did that day. You see, I love to give a good shampoo and scalp massage and it’s rare that my guests don’t thank me and comment on how wonderful it was.
I started to feel annoyed.
I know the feeling well, it starts with a swirling in my gut, then moves to a bristly feeling going up my spine, then I start to tense up and clench my teeth. I can feel a growl coming up from the depths of my being (like Roy if you watch Ted Lasso, I love Ted Lasso!)
Used to at this point, I would have mirrored her behavior; body language and being snippy like she was. I would be pulled into her energy and let it control my feelings and actions.
With a lot of practice, I have learned to be present in what my body is telling me and when I feel those triggers, I remember to pause. I remind myself that I have a choice to react or respond.
That day I chose to respond with kindness. I didn’t mirror her energy, I was compassionate instead and as soon as I made that shift in myself, I could feel a shift in her also. As she sat down in my chair, she blurted out, “I lost my little dog this week and I just don’t know what I’ll do without her, I’ve had her for fifteen years, she’s my best friend. I’m just not myself today.”
Because I was kind and compassionate, she had the opportunity to see where she wasn’t being that. Had I been unpleasant like she was, she likely wouldn’t have felt safe to share the hurt inside.
The situation was instantly diffused, and we both felt better.
We never know what someone is going through; what the real emotion is under their unpleasantness.
We can allow others to have their own emotions without letting them change our energy. When we feed into their unpleasantness, the situation often escalates.
Each of us has the power to pause and choose what we want to bring into the world.
What will it be?
Will you be a part of it and escalate the energy, or will you choose to stand in your own power and let the situation diffuse?
When we change the world changes.
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