When One Door Closes…

“Mom, what is wrong with people?” my daughter asked me in a defeated and frustrated tone. “Why don’t people do what they say they are going to do?” she continued. “He didn’t even bother to call.” Her heat had been broken for two weeks in the dead of winter, and the HVAC tech that was scheduled to come out was a no show yet again (for the fourth time in a row and she was freezing). Now she may have been referring to a specific situation regarding her heat, but her questions were valid.

I sat silent for a minute thinking about what she had said. “Mom, are you there?” she asked after about two minutes. “Yes, I am just thinking about what you said,” I replied. The truth is, what she was asking me boiled down to respect – respect for others, respect for ourselves, and respect for our work. Life is full of HVAC techs that do not show up and do not call to apologize. The lesson to be learned is how to not let others’ incompetency or complete disregard for others affect you.

I told her that it is more than okay to feel disappointed and frustrated when people disappoint and frustrate you, but that it is important to not take it personally and to move on and figure out another path to journey down. I gave her five minutes to rant and get it out of her system. Once she cooled down, I asked if she wanted my opinion (I always ask before I offer it because sometimes people want to vent and other times people want solutions, and I am not a mind reader). She wanted my opinion.

I told her that there was no point in reaching out to this tech again as that road seemed to be a dead-end after four failed attempts. We brainstormed a bit about solutions, instead of going over the problem again. After about 30 minutes we had gotten the name of two independent HVAC specialists (one from Google and the other from her law school classmate). She emailed her landlord asking for a return phone call. The landlord called about 20 minutes later and they had a productive human-to-human conversation, whereby the landlord agreed to coordinate billing for one of the new techs she found and pay for a hotel nearby until the heat was fixed (that law school education came in handy). She hung up and exhaled (for the first time in about two weeks).

When we get frustrated by things and people outside of our control, it is important to take a moment to pause and regroup. We need to get to a calm place where we can think clearly and come up with solutions. Going over what keeps going wrong only ingrains that message further into our brains. Rather, shake it off, and instead of trying to fight through closed doors, look for a window that is slightly ajar to open and climb through. We cannot change others, we can only shift ourselves and how we react and interact with others. So, if you want to get a positive result, approach with positivity.

Good Vibrations!

In the words of the Beach Boys, “Good, good, good, good vibrations!”

On a brighter note: 10 Things Going Well on Our Planet

I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of everything negative. I’d like to share some positive actions people and companies are taking to help one another. Heroes are as diverse as the acts they choose to do. 

  1. People, volunteers are stepping up to help others in need 
  2. Positive attention and actions being taken on the environment
  3. Animals (elephants, gorillas) being born in Africa have greatly increased and no longer is on the endangered species list
  4. Tech firms are making the digital world less intrusive for children to respect children’s privacy and personal data
  5. Man jumps into a bay to save a toddler
  6. Town raises $1k to give to a UPS driver to thank him for being essential during the pandemic
  7. Furniture store owner donates his retail space as a shelter
  8. Plumber helped 10,000 vulnerable families by fixing heating and plumbing for free during the pandemic
  9. Teacher spent every day in lockdown preparing food for his pupils and delivered 7,500 packed lunches
  10. Pollution is dropping

The great thing is, I can fill pages with good news. If you get the urge to help others, there is nothing too small, or big, so go for it! You’ll get as much joy as the recipients. Email me your top ten at: susan@selftalkcoach.com