Despite my dedication to self-improvement, I have had a lifetime habit of going into full defense mode when someone seems to be “attacking” me. As of late, I have looked back at many situations I have found myself in and pondered how I could have handled the situation differently, more constructively for both of us. How could I have done it “better.” The habit of self-defense really comes from a lack of belief in oneself or, more accurately, a lack of belief in ones personal power.
My Lemon Tree Story
Last spring I purchased a lemon tree and had it planted in my yard. I waited and waited for the fruit to turn yellow, and it never did. Then someone suggested it was really a lime tree, as the fruit smelled and tasted like limes! I had saved the tag from the tree and took it and one of the pieces of fruit from the tree back to the nursery where I had purchased it. The first young clerk started trying to figure out how to help me, then another clerk came up and said that it indeed was a lime, but to get a credit I had to bring back the tree!
I exclaimed (temper starting to rise) that it was a TRREEEEE, and that it was PLANTED in my yard…that I had paid to have it planted and would have to pay to have it dug up! She again stated that I would have to bring the tree back for a refund. I drew a square with my fingers and suggested she get outside her boxed in thinking, and listen to what I was saying…that it was a TRREEEEEEEEE, and was PLANTED in my yard!
My anger started to really rise now.
I stated quite loud that I would never shop there again, and turned to walk out the door…then turned back and said “Don’t you stand behind your products?” She again stated that for a credit, the product must be returned. The other clerk chimed in with “That’s how it ALWAYS is! For a credit, the product must be returned.”
There were other customers there, they saw the whole encounter, and I heard someone smirk.
Was I really being that ridiculous? I didn’t think so, I thought THEY were ridiculous.
I came home and pondered it, and thought “How could I have handled that differently?” I decided to call the store and talk to the manager, but before I did, I determined that I would have a positive result, and NOT get mad again. That was my clear intention.
When I spoke to the manager on the phone, he was quite calm and said he had seen the fruit I had delivered to the front counter, and that it was indeed a lemon. He described limes as round without a bump on the end, and this had a bump on the end…like a lemon. I asked how long it took for the fruit to ripen, and he said they usually blossom in February and are ready to harvest the next February…one year later! I in fact DO have a lemon tree!
How could I have handled it differently? Well if I hadn’t lost my temper…my “voice of reason,” I could have asked to see the manager right then and the mystery would have been solved. Everyone would have walked away with a good vibe, a funny story to tell. Instead, I left a trail of bad energy behind me.
I have studied “how we create our reality” since the 1970’s. I understand it intellectually, and have spent my life trying to be positive…that is until I get angry! So now, I am fine-tuning that part of my life. It isn’t easy I’ll admit. When anger flairs, logic seems to fade away into a dark corner of my personality. Time for that to change.
I am grateful for the tree experience because it gave me a chance to really see myself in action. This is an action that I can modify, now that I see it clearly. I can’t promise that I won’t loose my temper again, but I believe that with awareness and practice, I can change that lifetime habit.
I believe that “peace” begins at home, right within our selves. How can we hope and pray for world peace if we can’t even have peace at the local nursery. The other people who were shopping deserved a peaceful day…as did the clerk who was just doing her job. You never know what kind of chain reaction an expression of anger will start. The person who was exposed to my anger might have taken that anger down the road and shared it with someone else…a chain reaction of bad energy. Does one small incident in one small business in one small town make a difference in the global picture? We can’t say for sure, but I think our evolving consciousness hints to us that it does make a difference.
If you have a story like this, one where you came back to a situation with a more positive attitude and found a positive result, please share it with me so I can share it with others. I won’t use your name unless you give me permission, and then only your first name. Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are all in this together, aren’t we!