The Mess in the Mirror

There is tremendous value in seeing your reflection.

The flickering candle of my frontal lobe cast new light on a situation late yesterday evening. When it happened, I shook my head in quiet amazement.

A difficult customer stoked my fire in the afternoon by heaping disdain upon me and my coworkers for what he perceived as poor service. This is the second time he has walked away angry, punctuating this instance with an eloquent “You guys suck.”

I am usually very slow to anger.

My patience, perhaps honed by years working in retail, stretches for miles. Random aggressiveness is a quick way to accelerate to the end of that road.

This gentleman seems to really love stepping on the gas.

I understand he works hard. He feels things should be handled efficiently with little instruction. However, on both occasions he has ignored the standards in place of the establishment I work for.

Our aim is to produce quality work in a timely manner that makes the customer–and us–look good.

His goal appears to be merely having something made.

The revelation came when I saw myself in the mirror of his actions.

I have had a pissy attitude the last few times I’ve headed it into work. I’ve grumbled, moaned and whined my way through through two or three shifts straight. On the brink of a big change, my turbulent mind has begun lashing out at innocent bystanders in the workplace and at home.

What’s strange is how reflexive flashes of frustration can be.

My mouth snaps before I think, hurling verbal darts of discontent into the world without regard. Like a four-year-old fighting to avoid bedtime, I am wrestling with conflicting emotions under the surface.

Change means letting go of the known.

Excitement, sadness and (thankfully, smaller than anticipated) fear simmer in a witch’s brew of my brain. I’m leaving behind people and places I love for the challenges of a location that has pulled me for two years.

The pot wants to boil over.

What I saw in this man–and myself–was unintentional projection, emotion bubbling up and spilling everywhere. Stress can get the best of all of us, regardless of how kind we are most of the time. I think it’s part of human nature, yet that’s a poor excuse for belching our irritation onto someone else.

It makes a mess that is tough to clean up.

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