Have you ever been around someone who was a bit nasty? Of course you have.
Commode – I was in the presence of one such soul this week. I try treading lightly when speaking of others; it’s good practice. So, without giving too much away, let’s just say it wasn’t that she was unfriendly, she was anti-friendly.
I tried smiling and being polite. Nope.
I tried being matter of fact. Nope.
I met her where she was and turned just a little bitchy. Nope. No change.
So severe was this lady’s stonewall that she remained unaffected, while I, on the other hand, was getting crustier by the minute. In other words, I was becoming like her.
At one point my inner dialogue became combative enough that even Snarky said, Woah. You’re a bitch.
Then that knowing part of me, the one with a quiet air, stood up in her pencil skirt, peered over her librarian glasses, and assessed the situation. No, it’s not you. It’s the energy around you. You’re taking on her energy.
Energy huh? says Snarky. Well this gal need an energy enema.
There’s a Mexican restaurant in town that my sorority sisters and I used to frequent on Friday nights. One girl in particular would get completely ready for the evening, and then temporarily pull her hair up for dinner. She was trying to keep it from smelling like Speedy Gonzalez #5 for the rest of the night. (I’m not sure it worked.)
That’s how energy is. You can’t always help the people you’re around. Their mood – their energy – can stick to you worse than any restaurant rank.
Think about when you’re around someone who’s really funny. You leave feeling better, because they’ve offered some laughs. Their humorous air seeps into you, and you carry it around with you, sometimes still smiling before bed.
How about when you watch a really inspirational movie. By the end, you have a renewed sense of self and are ready to uplift others, because you’ve been uplifted.
It’s the exact same with bad moods. I had started to take on some of Stonewall’s stoniness. She needed an energy enema, and if I didn’t put up some boundaries, I’d need one too.
In order to set some boundaries, I’d once again need to change my approach. Forget being positive, and forget being bitchy. I aimed instead for neutrality.
Neutral neither engages with smiley banter nor reacts with barbed remarks; it cannot be pulled in one direction or another unless it chooses to. Instead, neutral observes. It might observe the conversation, or it might look out the window and observe the random ladder on the rooftop of the building across the street. Just how long has it been there?
Have you ever been in a professional stadium with a dome? So long as the weather is good, the dome remains open. As soon as the weather takes a turn or becomes threatening, cue the dome. The game continues, because it is fully protected. That’s setting a boundary. That’s neutral.
So how is it a good thing that I was in the presence of one Ms. Stonewall? Cue the dome, folks. I cued it, it remained in place, and I carried on with a good day. Plus, I’ve now drawn a lesson from it.
Now that’s a good thing.
Categories: Odes To Joy