~Thursday, February 02, 2012

Ice, Ice Baby

I've been making a conscious decision this year to chill out. Historically, I haven't been very good at it. I'm one of those people that can't brush off a perceived offense. No, I have to address it, which can sometimes cause more trouble.

Jenna and I spent most of last year at odds with each other. She had hurt my feelings, then I had hurt her feelings, then she hurt my feelings until it was all we knew of each other. After a break from November to January, we were at the same event together. I had missed Jenna.

I had a choice: I could either be happy or right. And I wasn't even sure I was right after all of these months. I do know there were distinct moments where I was decidedly not right.

In the end I chose to be Jenna's friend instead of continuing the feud. I acted friendly to her and she reciprocated. We resumed texting. Then she accepted my invite to the toy party. In letting go, I saved a friendship. I'm a much happier person for it.

Similarly, at work there is a divide between departments. Both departments feel like it is the most important part of the company. One department is the the thinker; one department is the doer. The thinker department arrives late and stays late; the doer department arrives early and leaves early. As a thinker, it was always viewed as strange that I ate lunch with the doers. And then one day last year department tensions spiked and, as a sign of solidarity, I stopped eating lunch with the doers. The departments stopped speaking to each other.

Then one day a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to talk to a doer, well, just because. I was tired of the fighting. I wanted to let it go. I walked up to one of the doers and was nice. She reciprocated. And then we started chatting over the office instant messaging system. She told me she missed me at lunch and extended the invite that I return. I have, and I'm just happier.

I've mostly seen positive changes in chilling out. The change in the way people receive me has been night and day, and the change has been instant. Sometimes it still requires cognitive thought and a self-administered pep talk, but I think that will get easier with time and practice. I think the important thing to remember is that I'm a happier person for it.

7 comments:

Je m'appelle Danielle said...

I think its good you reconciled with Jenna, especially if your squabble really wasn't worth squabbling about. Being thick skinned takes time, and I believe that is what 'go with the flow' people have.

Even though I seem emotionless, I am not, and probably like you, a lot of things can easily hurt my feelings. I just don't show them, hello p-p-p-poker face. I think its a good quality to be able to express your emotions openly, find a comfortable medium

crazytownusa said...

If I could choose one thing to change about myself, it would be exactly that. To let things go. To not spend my life angry. Can you send a step by step handbook please? Or Xanax?

Ps- so proud of you!!!

Annie said...

Ditto on crazytownusa's comment. I have spent too much of my life not letting things go and I know it just eats me up inside. Loved this post!

bindandcreate.com said...

Fantastic post. Thank you for sharing. It reminds me that I really need to let go of some things and chill the eff out. I've been holding on to a few things that are causing challenges in my relationships. I need free of those. Thanks again for posting.

Red Stethoscope said...

I don't know if it's about chilling out, or just being more forgiving and letting stupid things go. But seriously, good for you...I'm glad that you are happier. I need to take a cue from you and make things right with a friend of mine. Thanks for sharing!

tiia said...

Sarah,
I remember reading one of your posts a few months back that was all about the choice between happy and right. It was something that really hit home with me, and
I've been using it lately as a way of testing myself and others, to see whether I'm capable of putting happiness before my own selfish need to be right. It's really incredible how much you nailed it though, I've found that every dispute in my life has really come down to whether someone chooses to be happy or right.

I'm glad your post repeats this idea, because it's definitely a really valuable one, that's worth spreading. It's helped me, and I think it will help others too.

So thank you, sincerely.

Miss Devylish said...

I've done the same thing tho I look it at it as seeing things positively rather than negatively.. and seeing the bigger picture. I ask myself if what I'm thinking of doing or saying will accomplish anything or have a positive impact and if my answer is anything other than making me feel more self-righteous about a situation, than ok, great.. if not, clearly, I'm letting my ego and negative feelings take over and then try to prevent myself from doing that. I feel like I'm perceived as warmer and kinder overall - at least that's what I've been hearing and I'm really proud of that. So yay for you, yay for us! There's progress in getting older, eh? ;) xo

 

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