I was playing golf on the weekend and in between 9, I went to use the washroom. I wasn’t in there for more than a minute when someone started banging on the door. I called out ‘I’ll only be a second’ and shortly thereafter opened the door. An older woman was standing there (oh, I forgot to mention, she’d banged on the door another 2 times in the meantime) and she said “I really have to go” to which I felt immediate empathy, until she then said “you’re from the street right”? Huh? The street? No, I just came from the golf course. But, I didn’t have a chance to explain or defend myself, or let her know that I wasn’t a street person, taking advantage of the outdoor entrance to the washroom. She was already inside the washroom, had slammed and locked the door in my face.
There I was standing, staring, gobsmacked, shocked and MAD. How dare she? What at #$%^&!!
Then I remembered my #1 rule for myself and my life – take 100% responsibility for everything. Now in this case, I understand I can’t take responsibility for this woman’s ignorance, but, I can take responsibility for my reaction. Which was anger, fury, almost rage. Why? Why did I care so much about what this woman thought, or said? Hmm..
I thought about it for a few days. I’m still processing it. Mostly because I KNOW there is a bigger message, or lesson for me in all of this. How I know that is because of my reaction. My ‘loud’ reaction was a clue that I had some kind of matching piece within me that was awakened and triggered by this woman’s comment. So what was it??
Let’s break it down…
The woman: If I de-persoanlize the entire exchange and take the face off this woman and look at her from a general perspective I notice
#1 she made an immediate and instant assumption based on her own ignorance
#2 she positioned herself energetically as ‘above’ or ‘better’ than me
#3 she crossed the boundary of the locked washroom door by banging it down, insisting her turn was more important than my turn
Then I asked myself:
#1 Where do I make assumptions based on my own ignorance?
#2 Where do I believe or act as if I’m ‘better than’ or ‘above’ other people?
#3 Where do I cross other people’s boundaries, thinking or believing my turn is more important than theirs?
Wow! What a gift this woman really gave me. After giving some thought to these questions I came up with some pretty profound insights. This whole exchange with this woman and my subsequent processing helped me be objective and see things that I was doing in my life that were not in alignment with how I want to be. Without this woman playing her role to such a tee (haha! pun intended) I might not have so quickly been able to identify some shifts that needed to take place in my life.
Our feelings have so much information if we’re willing to look inward and take responsibility for them. I’m now at a point where I don’t feel angry at all when I think of this woman or the situation. I’m grateful for the fact that her actions created such a loud reaction in me, that I ‘woke-up’ and took a look at what was really going on. I think the entire experience has truly improved the quality of my life and for that I say – thanks!
Food for thought: often our greatest lessons and teachers come in very interesting packages.