My cell phone has begun to decide when I’ve been talking long enough—it simply reboots itself at random. If that wasn’t bad enough, when friends text multiple images the phone simply crashes.
The truth is I’m not big on getting texts with four to six images—I prefer email for that number of photos. Still, one of my friends loves texting photos of whatever he is doing at the moment, crashing my phone. Repeatedly.
A few weeks ago I explained that I was overdue for a new phone but between going with a friend to her chemo appointments, a big renovation and other life events, I wasn’t going to be able to replace the phone for a few more weeks. It just wasn’t a priority. So until then, I asked that he email his images instead.
His response: “Too many rules, too much drama. I’ll keep to just words and only a few.”
I was taken aback – to be honest, my feelings were hurt.
What did he mean by “drama?” I wasn’t dictating rules at all, simply making a request to keep my phone alive a few more weeks. How unfair is that? He knew what was going on in my life, why was he being so nasty?
I deleted the text and didn’t respond. Maybe he was having a bad day, I didn’t know. It bothered me the rest of the day.
Later, I had to laugh when I realized that I was making his problem mine.
I was fine—I just needed a new phone and I’d get one eventually. The world wouldn’t fall apart because I couldn’t get texted images, his or anyone else’s.
My knee-jerk reaction was to feel hurt by his snarky text and to think it was about me. But that was a mistake: The problem wasn’t mine at all. It was his. Who knows, maybe he was having a bad day. I knew what I’d said and why. It was reasonable and rational. So why was I owning his response to it?
That’s a question we all could ask ourselves when we get upset by another’s actions or words.
How many times do we take on the problems of others? How many times are we more concerned about what others think of us— even if their view is distorted— than what we think of ourselves?
I was a little embarrassed at myself—why was I letting this stuff bother me? I am a few years into my 60s. That alone should give me better perspective on the judgment of others. Because people judge and so do I. It’s human. Everyone’s got an opinion and so what.
What’s really important is not what they think. It’s what WE think. If we feel that an action or decision is the right one, that’s all that matters.
The rest? Bless it and let it go.
It’s a lesson I’ll be keeping top of mind.
Carol Cassara is a writer and ordained minister who believes in living fully in every color of the rainbow. Her essays have appeared in Skirt! magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, several Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, on public radio and other venues. After a long career as a corporate communications executive, she is enjoying having more time to write, travel and just enjoy life. When she's not traveling the world, she lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and crazy little maltipoo. Her daily blog inspirations for creating our best lives can be found at www.carolcassara.com.