It was a comedy moment as I momentarily took offence, thought she was looking smug, and thought ‘What did I do to upset you!?’
Of course in the next second I realised a) we’d never met b) she was a cow . So it really wasn’t personal.
However I was reminded of how quickly we can take something personally – another person’s words or actions, or lack of, and create all sorts of stories about what those words or actions might mean. My default used to be – It’s my fault. Still is to a large extent. #workinprogress
Countless times I have tied myself up in knots trying to work out what I’ve done to upset someone – whether it be a romantic relationship, a friendship, a parent, a boss. Dissecting every detail. What was said or done, by whom and when. So keen to to understand what I had done wrong to upset them and make it better for them and me. Exhausting.
The truth is often, before they were even standing in front of you, they were already upset.
A frustrating morning commute, a stressful deadline at work, a health worry, brexit anxiety, previous upset from a heartbreak, a loss, a tricky family relationship, a traumatic childhood experience. We can bring of all these into a single conversation, most often unconsciously.
What i’m saying is we are human beings bringing much of what has gone before, or worry about what might happen next into our present. And if you think this ‘upset’ can be left at the door when we step into work? Think again.
My message for now ? It’s not always personal. Life is messy. Sometimes the mess is not ours to clear up. And sometimes the mess is just unclear-up-able!
The answer? Still working on this. But it goes something like this: Focus on sorting your own upset out. Be present. And remember this is all work in progress and is a lifetime’s worth of work.
Who knew a peeing cow could elicit such profound thoughts.