This has been one heck of a strange day – not strange/bad, just strange/all-over-the-place. And both the highs and the lows are very neatly illustrated by a pair of emails that came on either end of the day.
When I got to work this morning, I found an email from a newspaper reader taking me to task for something I’ve been doing in my weekly column. Truth be told she had a really valid point, but the way she approached me felt like an attack.
“This has been driving me crazy for a long time,” she said.
My immediate reaction was, “Why did you have to wait until you were so pissed off to let me know? Couldn’t you have let me know this was an issue before it reached the critical stage?”
I was not in a place to respond right away, because I probably would have responded to her with the same attitude she came at me with, and that’s not something I want to do. So I gave myself a while to cool down. Late in the afternoon I finally wrote back an email that was pleasant and thanked her for the feedback – and I meant it about 80%. If I’d waited another day or two to fully cool down, I probably would have meant it 100%.
But she modeled a really important reminder for me:
People can’t be held responsible for information that I haven’t given them. I can’t expect someone to heed a warning that I haven’t given.
If I feel something bubbling up inside me, it’s better for everyone if I share it before it reaches the boiling point. It’s better for me – I don’t like feeling that irritated/agitated/angry. It’s better for them – they get a warning that something is going on before it reaches the critical stage. And it’s better for the relationship – we can clear the air before things are said that someone might regret.
Another stinky pile of poo deposited on the compost pile – a valuable reminder to speak my piece while I’m still AT peace rather than waiting for an explosion that I might not be able to control.
And on the polar opposite end of the spectrum….
As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I’ve re-entered the world of online dating. I haven’t been super active, but I’ve been out on one date.
I used some of the pictures from this website on my profile and kept my description pretty short. Rather unusual for me, the girl who finds it easier to write 600 words than 200 words, and can hit 1000 words without even breaking a sweat. It’s been interesting to see the huge uptick in engagement from potential suitors with the new pictures and fewer words, even when I haven’t been nearly as active .
Case in point – late this afternoon I got this amazing email from a lovely gentleman:
“We live nowhere near each other so its unlikely we’ll ever meet and I almost clicked away.
But I read your profile and got inspired to send a note to compliment you. I really like what you wrote about treating others well, and about having that light in your eyes – which you definitely have. I sense that you are free with giving positive praise to others, so I thought I’d just send you one for no reason.”
OH. MY. GOD. Seriously?!?!?! Is that the coolest message ever, OR WHAT?!?
It reminded me of something else important:
And to the kind gentleman who sent the email, I want to say thank you. Thank you for the reminder that all I need to do is show up as me.
Those were only two of the highs and lows of this day, but they’re a pretty good illustration of everything else that happened in between.
A good stinky pile of poo and a lovely little ego boost. I think we can call that a successful day!