AT&T promised to make it right today, Tuesday. Didn't happen. I waited four hours, rescheduled appointments, even, losing money, all for naught. Being the Attitude of Gratitude guy, I see this as an opportunity to do more than count to ten. I need to forgive.
In my case, it is frustration I am wrestling with, not hurt.Forgiveness is not forgetting, it is letting go of the hurt. Courage to Change, 178
There is a night when I don a coat of armor, engaging in weekly combat of the emotional kind. Last week, there was a reprieve. That was great, as I was physically wiped out. Thank you, God.
Not so, this week. Ugh. I am getting better, though. Never have I had a client like the one I see on this night. Never. I am routinely slugged with judgments about me. I am not a masochist. Nor am I codependent. Something I am proud to admit.
Codependency: surrendering our values or opinions because we fear the anger or reactions of others, if we say what we feel or want, or differ with others.
I am getting tougher, in a good sense, because of my weekly jousts:
This client helps me exercise detachment. I responded, not reacting. A younger Pablo would have let her have it. No, that is not me, now. She's lucky.Maturity is moving from a thin skin and a hard heart to a thick skin and a soft heart. Charles Swindoll
Here's the thing: empathy does not mean agreement. I used it this week to de-escalate a volatile session. I was proud being grounded while relating with someone who used emotional bullying to motivate me.
"You are supposed to support me!!" said she, when I state a view that differed from hers.
"I am sorry. I am not in agreement with you. I did not say you were wrong." I said.
"I pay you to listen to me!!!"
"That is not how I work. We cannot become the person we want to be, by remaining the way we are." I replied. "Besides, you have spoken for the past fifty minutes. I am confused by your statement."
When I mentioned many have benefited from time spent with me, including those who suffer from her symptoms she yelled, "I am feeling coerced." She stood up walked towards me, turned around, returning to the couch and sat back down.
"Have I asked you to do anything?"
"Can you tell me how I can say what I said tonight, without you feeling that way?" I asked.
"You are to make me feel better!"
" I have never had anyone tell me how I am to do my work. I will not let you be the first. Do not judge me. We operate as equals. Pronouncing judgments is putting yourself in a superior position.
"I have a need for balance. Just as I am respectful towards you, I ask for you to equally be respectful towards me. Your desire to get healthier has to be stronger than my desire to help you. "
How was I, as this verbal storm swirled within the room? Fine. At ease. Present, noticing how I felt, calmly smiling, while listening to the tirade. My breathing was relaxed. It was like being back in the psychiatric hospital, where I worked for nine years.
At the end of our session she gave me a big hug, with a smile and an additional twenty-five dollars. Go figure. The evening goes to prove that being true to our values is critical. We may be tested to see if we really stick to our values. But, that doesn't mean we won't be respected for maintaining our integrity.
1. I am happy my peace of mind is not affected by the negative emotions of others. No one can make me feel happy, sad, or any other feeling, without me giving them permission to do so.
2. I am internally referented. I clearly know what my values are. I do not let others define me.
3. I will have a look forward to conversation Wednesday morning.
4. I took a nap after finding out I wasted my time, waiting for help from AT&T.
5. I spoke my truth with someone yesterday. She apologized, and will make amends. That is heartening.
6. I am adhering to my boundaries. It feels good, being true to myself.
7. I am loved by many. And, I don't have to do anything, to be appreciated by them. It is sensational, knowing intimacy with emotionally mature others. It provides me with the emotional object constancy I need.
How About You?
What are your gratitudes? Please share them.