The challenge for Day Nine is making me smile.
Because when I was in therapy for Postpartum Mood Disorders a few years back, my therapist said something to me as I struggled to deal with a necessary confrontation with one of the other women helping me lead my Postpartum Support Group. The phrase my therapist said to me stuck with me, dramatically changing the way I function in day to day life.
“How other people react to you is NOT YOUR GIG.”
Everyone has their own baggage. We bring our own accessories to the party, if you will. Some of us bring helpful things like napkins, plates, utensils. Others bring fireworks, stink bombs, loud music, and rotten food. The best we can do with someone who does or says something inappropriate is to address it and move on. Their response is not reflective of your words – it’s more than likely rooted in a bad day, a bad experience, or an issue with which they are struggling to deal. You just happen to be there so they attack you. Their behavior, while yes, challenging your patience, maturity, and self-control, is not your responsibility to control. The only person YOU are responsible for controlling is you.
I take deep breaths, relax, think, and let a lot of things roll off my back that I would not have let go by the wayside prior to that conversation with my therapist. I am constantly asking myself if the outcome would be worth the battle. Is the behavior really that bad? Sometimes the answer is always yes. Other times, it’s no. Does it really matter how my daughter holds her fork? Eventually. But at dinner time when she’s just being a kid and I have had a long day – it’s okay if she wants to hold it upside down. But if she throws a temper tantrum in public? That I have to deal with and again, it’s not my fault. She’s struggling to deal with emotions she does not understand and it is my responsibility to guide her in the right direction. The calmer I stay, the faster the situation is resolved.
This Challenge is something which God has been slowly working with me on over the past few years as the result of a number of growing challenges. I like to think I’ve passed each and every one of them…. I hope.