To Thine Own Self Be True

Life decided not follow my script yesterday morning. I purchased some gifts to give at a luncheon an hour later, but I didn't notice they were slightly damaged until I got them home.  I didn't have time to take the gifts back to the store. Now what was I supposed to do?

I was an unhappy camper and I called the store manager and let her know about it. I needed them to make things right.  NOW! Surely she didn’t expect me to give damaged gifts. I didn’t use any four letter words, but my tone was condescending, sarcastic, and argumentative. I was right and the store was wrong.

My blood pressure went off the charts when she said she didn’t have the authority to offer an acceptable solution and no one else higher up the food chain was available because they were too busy due to the holiday. I became indignantly self-righteous. I demanded, cajoled, criticized all to no avail. Finally I hung up in disgust. I burned with resentment for a good hour.

I was in the shower when it happened…I suddenly realized I was suffering. All at once I felt the full force of the anger, frustration and fear coursing through my body. It registered that it didn’t feel good. Then I remembered I had a choice. I didn’t have to feel this way if I didn’t want to. This thought — that I had a choice — was like turning on a light in a dark room. The darkness disappeared. My balance returned.

It says “To thine own self be true” on the back of my twenty year medallion. Was I true to my own self throughout this incident with the store manager? Part of me thinks, “Jeez, twenty years and I’m still acting like a three year old. I should have done better.” But another voice reminds me to be gentle with myself. It urges me to be grateful for the pain and the opportunity to grow from it.