The Exchange

We have all encountered them. Those emotional trolls who seek to shame or otherwise emasculate your spiritual serenity. It is funny how they weave their way in with a sweet smile only to slap you with something unexpected…..something unkind. The difference today is I am not so gullible.

Yesterday, minding my own business, and feeling pretty great about life in general, I was stopped by an acquaintance as I walked to my car. A nice enough woman that I have chit chatted with on occasion. As we talked, she informed me that I apparently didn’t fulfill an obligation with a group where we are both involved. I am a stickler for completing any task that I volunteer for, so I immediately felt ashamed of myself. Then she went on to say that she couldn’t believe no one called me to inform me of my slip of commitment. As she is talking – with a smile – I am processing this interaction. Finally, when she quit talking I was able to inform her that I was ill that day and honestly, had forgotten about my obligation to the group. The beautiful thing about this particular fellowship I am involved in, is that someone always steps up to the plate if need be, so this truly was being made a bigger deal by this individual than necessary. As I walked away I began to deal with the aftermath. The pissed off me screaming things in my head. “How dare she judge me.” “What the hell was that?” “She is so rude.” I also had a litany of sentence enhancers that really expressed my feelings of annoyance of this person.

As the day wore on, my perception shifted. Today, I know that when someone is pointing the finger at me, blaming me, trying to make me feel ashamed or less than, it is really what is going on with them that is the issue. When others try to take me emotionally hostage, I have a choice……I can comply and get sucked into to their garbage or I can simply acknowledge that this has nothing to do with me.

I can own my part. I can offer an amends for not upholding my commitment. But, I won’t allow someone to rob me of my peace. Life is too short to be consumed by other people’s emotional residue.

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