This week’s writing challenge (Hindsight is 20/20) helped me realize how much thicker my skin is now, than it was even 5 years ago. The idea of going back in time to apply the perfect comeback to a situation that had previously stunned me into silence (that’s a lie…I was stunned into sniveling in the last stall of the women’s bathroom) isn’t as enticing as it might have been before my 30’s. However, what hasn’t changed is my intrinsic “mama bear” response when those I love are treated poorly, so I decided to use the challenge to reply to the email below as if it had been originally sent to a dear friend or family member. The email below was written by a co-worker, and sent to me at 9:42pm for no other reason (that I can think of) than he could NOT stop thinking about me. Ha!
Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2009 9:42 PM
Subject: Perception is reality?
I hate to be the one…but I really like you and I want you to know my perspective. I think your laughing is seen as distracting to others around us. I want you to realize that sometimes I think “perception is reality” to a certain extent…sometimes it’s not warranted…we must be mindful of those around us. Has anyone ever been honest enough with you to tell you what I’m telling you?
Below is the email I would’ve sent had I found my friend crying in the last stall of the bathroom due to this late night self-esteem crusher.
I hate to be one of many…but I really feel sorry for you, and you need to hear my perspective. I think your curmudgeon-ness is rubbing off on others around us. You need to realize that my friends laugh and general happiness present a unique leadership opportunity for you. As Stephen R. Covey, writes in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change: “To change ourselves effectively, we first (have) to change our perceptions.” You COULD choose to lead other trolls out from under the bridge, and begin perceiving laughter as a sound that brings joy and tolerance to the workplace. Sometimes we have to “face the facts” even when they are difficult to live with. You must be mindful of how your glum face and ogre-like presence tends to make others miserable. Has anyone ever been honest enough to tell you that you’re a sad little man?
I also could’ve been less wordy, but still got my message across with a little hard-core Christian sarcasm:
Everyone hates you but God. He loves you unconditionally! Isn’t that great news?!
And of course there’s the response that could only have been sent with sincerity if I had spent a week praying for wisdom:
God loves you!
In 2015, I pray that the Lord gives me the grace to be a vessel of love and forgiveness even when my flesh has every reason to be angry and hold a grudge. I pray that I will be an example of His love regardless of the personalities I may bump up against. Until then, I have 10 days to behave however I want! 🙂