A new week, a fresh start. Past conflicts, arguments, words of regret behind you. Time to move forward. Think positive. And, Change your attitude. — Charles Swindoll
I saw this post on Robin’s blog and had to share. I just had a conversation with my 17 year old son regarding this exact thing. He was complaining about someone who wronged him, yet again and I pointed out that he really doesn’t treat people so well, why on earth would they go out of their way to do something for him? Relationships are so important, this is the reason we are all here, community, villages, relationships are the heart of all that we do. When I really started to think about it, I realized that not one of us is capable of living completely alone. (Okay, maybe there is someone) but, most of us, cannot live without the help of others. Personally, I cannot build or fix ANYTHING, so there is my need for shelter (housing) and I my thumbs are all white, no green! I cannot grow my own food, I cannot milk a cow, skin a hunt or even put a worm on a hook, for that matter. I do not sew, I cannot fix my own car. I rely on other people for virtually everything that I do. Now, I realize I pay people for many of the things I cannot do myself, but, really, attitude does make a difference.
One day, not too long ago, I needed to get my windshield replaced on my car. Luckily, insurance was going to cover it, except the $300 deductable. I walked into Safelite, with an appointment, hoping they could just repair the crack. Since I am preparing to ship my car overseas, the shipper needs the windshield in tact. The guy at Safelite was clearly having a difficult day and I waited for some time before he was able to help me. (Despite the fact that I had an appointment.) When he finally turned his attention to me, I showed him my window and he said that the crack was likely too large for repair, a replacement was necessary. At this point, I was bummed, but realized it was not his fault… he didnt put the crack in my window. I smiled politely and said, okay, well, it is what it is, let’s replace the window. Unfortunately, they were only prepared for a repair at that time and not a replacement. He aplogized that I had waited so long and would not need to return on a later date. Again, I smiled and asked when they would be able to take care of it. He ended up taking 1/2 the deductable off my fee and charged me only $150 to replace the window. He typed the discount in the computer and booked my appointment. He looked to me and said, “I have been having a rough day, thank you for your patience, I gave you a discount, since you were so easy to work with.”
I hadn’t done anything special, I was just polite. But, it occurs to me that he must really have had a tough morning if he knocked $150 off my price, just for being polite. How unfortunate that we often tend to take our frustrations out on the people serving us. It wasn’t his fault the window was broke, or the guy in front of me was rude and took up too much time, making him late for my appointment. It was not his fault the crack was too big to repair.
Had this been just a month sooner, I would not have been in the same head space, not yet arriving on this spiritual journey. There is probably a good chance I would have been rude because I had to wait, pissed that he couldnt fix it and even more pissed that I had to come back.
The way I have always tried to keep my cool in a situation that I am likely to blow my cool is an old throw back from my alateen days, The Serenity Prayer.
I am not a religious person, so I have altered it slightly, it’s the way I make use of many religion-based philosophies, also a skill I learned in alateen.
Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
Widom to know the difference
In most cases, Wisdom is the key need, knowing the difference between those situations I have control over and those I don’t.
What do you do to keep your cool, on your spiritual path? Take a deep breath? Count to ten?
Daily attitude really can be the key differnce in finding that serenity. When we can’t control the situation, we often get frustrated, discouraged, angy, resentful and we may even start to blame others.
The serenity prayer helps me not only to control my own reaction, but helps me realize that the person I am dealing with may not have any control over the situation either. Why should I take my frustration out on them?
Do you think attitude makes a difference?