It’s a new year and I’m already super stressed. My stress leads to anger, frustration, negativity and a harsh dislike of my life. I’ve noticed recently that most of my stress comes from other people. Not that people are intentionally trying to ruin my life. I mean I surely hope not. If your job is to ruin my life, you need to find a hobby. But, sometimes, it honestly feels like everyone else is just tearing me down with their words and actions or lack of actions.
Then I remember what my dad used to tell me when I was a little girl…”People cannot make you angry. You choose to be angry as a response, and you have the power to change your response.”
He also told me that “gripy young people made gripy old people.”
Unfortunately, I’ve become a gripy old person. I can relate to Nick from New Girl. And I still like to blame my gripes and stress and anger on other people.
Take for instance yesterday…I went to a dance yoga class (part of my new year’s resolution to get fit!) In all my research I’ve learned that coconut water is supposed to be excellent for replenishing your body after a workout. These hour classes are kicking my butt, so to reward myself and “replenish,” I decide to stop at the gas station on the way home to get a coconut water.
I get to the checkout and no one knows the price of my drink. The cashier goes back to the aisle to check the price with no luck. She walks back to the front and asks a second cashier the price of my drink. The second cashier responds with a, “I don’t know, but I know those are sure expensive.”
That exaggeration on expensive hurt my feelings. Dumb, I know, but it did. I can only imagine this lady was thinking that either 1) I’m some stupid girl in yoga pants about to pay way too much for a silly drink 2) I’m rich and snooty 3) I’m just charging it to my daddy’s credit card. Which embarrasses me.
Ugh…I get so frustrated with myself for so many reasons over this incident. In the first place, I’m just assuming what she must have been thinking with her exaggerated speech when she let out the word “expensive.” And I’m just assuming she meant the worst.
What if she really meant, “Now that’s an awesome girl who works really hard at her job providing enough money to purchase an expensive drink, AND she just finished a hard-core workout so she deserves to have something nice to reward herself.”
It’s so much harder for me to believe the positive. Regardless of what she meant, I’m always thinking that others are out to get me. With each snarky glance I receive, or passive-aggressive comment or the fact that I don’t get heard or just get overlooked…I believe that this reflects my character, who I am.
This is simply not true.
Too much of my worth and too much of my value is placed in what others think of me (or what I assume they think of me). Too much of my efforts are spent on stressing over what others think of me. It wears me down.
When I don’t perform the yoga move in perfect posture, I worry the teacher will judge my performance and label me a horrible dancer. When my boss asks me to repeat a task to meet her standards, I fear that she believes I’m not a good employee. When I blog openly and honestly about my experiences and opinions, I stress out thinking my readers will mock or laugh or never come back. It wears me down.
But, I can stop this! Right!? I can choose not to respond in anger. I can choose not to be gripy. I can choose not to care what others think.
Goodness, it’s definitely not easy.
Driving home from work, I gave myself a task to complete. I’m finding encouragement and inspiration to choose happiness, to choose positivity and to choose a healthy self-esteem based on what God says about me.
“Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people’s scorn, nor fear their insults. For the moth will devour them as it devours clothing. The worm will eat at them as it eats wool. But my righteousness will last forever. My salvation will continue from generation to generation.” Isaiah 51:7-8
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5 (God loves us for who we are, not for what we have or haven’t done.)
Want to join me? The choice is yours.