Those who read my blogs regularly might have noticed that I’ve been a way for a couple of weeks. Well, there has been a lot going on: challenging client stuff, challenging family stuff, helping Dr. Kidder (as usual my wife not my dad…) in navigating her first outside editing gig for Forever Mountain, and a couple of medical issues (you know, just a few life or death items mixed in for fun!). Naturally I survived all that (you are reading this post after all!). And naturally I learned a few things on the way.
Usually I’m pretty good at ‘holding it all together’. So is my wife. We didn’t get through a doctorate, multiple career changes, and all the other fun things of the last decade or so without that ability. But even we do have times when things get hard to control…
Reactions: dealing with life and what others do…
Life is a thing. Life happens. Sometimes your spouse or significant other is depressed. Sometimes there is a scary medical problem that comes up through no fault of your own. Sometimes the car’s AC system stops working for no apparent reason. Occasionally clients are unreasonable (and occasionally so are bosses, contractors, vendors, etc.… This can happen with anyone). Occasionally the driver in front of you (or behind you, or beside you…) drops the vehicle to drive his or her ‘smart’ phone. All of this stuff happens.
All of those things can happen whether you did anything to provoke it or not. When they happen it is natural and even appropriate to react, but you have the opportunity and the responsibility to choose how you react!
If your spouse is getting depressed. You might want to spend a little time finding out what’s going on (even if you think you know…). You also have the choice to be mad at him or her (which doesn’t usually help) or to do something constructive that will help counter the depression.
If it’s the car… Well, you can take it in to the shop or try to diagnose the problem (getting mad at the car doesn’t help).
If it’s the client/boss/vender/contractor being unreasonable… You might once again want to find out what’s going on. But, this time you might want to consider whether continuing the relationship is worthwhile, whether the relationship can be improved in a reasonable way, or if it is time to walk away. But just like with your spouse/significant other/family member you might want to skip snap decisions.
If it’s a driver ‘dropping the vehicle’ or a medical issue you might have to make a snap decision. A truck pulling into your lane or a heart attack just isn’t going to wait for you to be in a ‘safe space’ or calm state of mind to make a decision!
In pretty much every situation when something happens in your world you have an opportunity to react and choices to make (this is all part of that free will thing). You do have a right to think and act for yourself (though your choices and your opportunity to make them may be limited by the situation). The thing that you don’t have is a free pass for bad behavior. Whatever choices you make are yours and you kind of have to own up to them. You have to own up to your responsibility in things.
Personal responsibility… The good and bad part of the whole thing…
Sometimes things happen that you don’t choose.
But, you get to choose how you respond to them.
And no matter what happens, in the greater scheme of things you are responsible for what you did.
In my case I kind of forgot to take my blood sugar monitor along on a trip, and then I decided to have that desert at the Thai restaurant (and then that cinnamon roll the next morning…). Yes, I was working on helping my wife get out of a funk, and dealing with a couple of other projects that were going on, but forgetting the monitor and loading in the carbs was sort of on me. When my own emotions started going off the rails because my blood sugar was high that was on me!
The same thing happens with other people. Some of the folks behind the current iteration of a certain movie franchise have been proclaiming that “having a white male lead is box office poison”. Maybe, but since historically, and in the current market, there are movies with white male leads that are doing well. There might be other explanations. Maybe you just made a crappy movie and it doesn’t matter who the lead was…
Then there’s the kid who is punching/kicking/tripping other children with the excuse that “so and so did it first”. Maybe “so and so” did do it, but that didn’t mean you had to! You can choose how you react.
You may find a time where a little violence is actually warranted (trust me, somebody comes to my door and threatens my wife I will respond with whatever means necessary). But, you, I, all of us have to deal with the choices we make.
If you choose to be violent, or insulting, or let your blood ‘get up’, or any other such thing, you are responsible for what you do. It really doesn’t matter what the other person did. This is why you need to make sure your reactions are actually justified by the situation you are in, and are the best options available to you.
It may not be a physical threat. It may not be a verbal threat.
Actually it might be something pretty good!
But, one way or another things do happen in our lives. Things happen in our lives that we need to react to in one way or another. That is part of life and something we should be expecting (that we have to react to something that is; what it is may still surprise us!).
When we do find ourselves reacting to something, be it an actual threat, an unkind word, a rain shower or other completely non-made event, or even something good like winning that game or prize, we have the right and the responsibility to choose how we react.
The other ‘guy’ is responsible for what he/she/it does. And the other ‘guy’ has to take the consequences of his/her/it’s actions…
In the same way we are responsible for what we do, and we have to take the consequences of our actions. That’s why it’s important for us to think and choose wisely, so that our actions can be the best that they can be.
That’s if for this one dear reader. See you next post.